Sowing the Seeds of Change
By Roz Savage
If you’re interested in the future of the world, the forces that will affect it, and the ideas that we can use to chart a course to health and happiness for people and planet, I think you’re going to enjoy this. I’m hoping to invite my audience to see reality from fresh perspectives, and when everything seems rather difficult, even hopeless, to dare to dream that the seemingly impossible can come true. — Roz Savage
This pilot season of recordings was made possible through a grant in Seeds, provided by the decentralized community on the SEEDS regen economic platform. joinseeds.earth
This pilot season of recordings was made possible through a grant in Seeds, provided by the decentralized community on the SEEDS regen economic platform. joinseeds.earth
Kim Stanley Robinson: Novelist for the Future
It was such an honour to speak with Kim Stanley Robinson for this final episode of Season One of Sowing the Seeds of Change. Stan is described by the New Yorker as “generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers.” He has many fans, including at least two of my guests from this first season of Sowing the Seeds of Change, Rich Bartlett and Bill McKibben. His highly entertaining novels tend to revolve around ecological, cultural, economic and political themes, always handled with lightness, ease and elegance. He has a PhD from UC San Diego, and lives in Davis, California. Stan has published twenty-two novels and numerous short stories, and is about to publish his first memoir, but is probably best known for his Mars trilogy, which is how I first came to his work, when a friend, tech podcaster Leo Laporte, gave me an ipod fully loaded with audiobooks, including the Mars books. I became a confirmed fan, and was introduced to Stan by a mutual friend in 2012, although we have yet to meet in person – but we’re working on it. In this conversation we talk about the art of writing, technology, oceans, mountains, Buddhism, mental health and the search for meaning, environmental economics, equality, leverage points and the fractal nature of change, and, of course, the future.
December 29, 2021
Rich Bartlett: Complexity, Chaos and Coherence
Richard Bartlett describes himself as “one of those people with a lot of websites”, and he’s right. He's the co-founder of Loomio, a platform for small-scale digital democracy inspired by the 2011 Occupy Movement. He's also co-leader of The Hum, a training & consulting company that supports decentralised organisations to work without domination hierarchies. And he's also the co-director of the Enspiral Foundation, which is a professional network of friends supporting each other to do more meaningful work in the world. And he's the author of a community-building methodology called Microsolidarity. Rich is a fanatical Twitterer, and tells me he is a halfway decent blues guitarist. He grew up in a fundamentalist Christian community in New Zealand and now lives literally as far away as you possibly can, in Lucca, Italy, for reasons that become clearer in our conversation. I haven’t met Rich in person yet, although I know him from some work he did earlier this year with SEEDS, the complementary currency. I was impressed with his very practical wisdom, so I was inspired by that interaction to take a course with The Hum, hosted by Rich and his partner, Nati, which was excellent. In this conversation we talk about complex systems, chaos and coherence, nouns and verbs, cultural innoculation, methodologies rather than mission statements, trust, partnership and domination, Riane Eisler and Kim Stanley Robinson, heaven and hell and Christianity, LSD, fear of death, polarisation and harmonisation. What I took away from this conversation was a greater understanding of, well, understanding. In our world it often feels like many people are talking, and not so many are listening. When we really listen, it becomes easier to focus on our similarities rather than our differences, and to tune into the shades of grey between the black and white extremes of polarised discourse. I love the work Rich is doing. It makes me feel hopeful. Just a reminder that our archive of conversations – with Charles Eisenstein, Tim Jackson, Jude Currivan, Bill McKibben, Sharon Blackie, Ted Rau, Paul Hawken, Peggy Liu, John Buck and Monika Megyesi, and Kimberly Carter Gamble are available for free on Spotify, and now also on Apple Podcasts!
December 22, 2021
Kimberly Carter Gamble: Courage, Thriving, and Agreeing to Disagree
On the show this week I am in conversation with Kimberly Carter Gamble, who produced, directed and co-wrote THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take? and THRIVE II: This Is What It Takes. Kimberly came from a background in journalism and film. Currently she is focused on helping to empower grassroots movements around the world to reclaim our freedom and develop tools and practices for spiritual awakening and averting medical tyranny. Kimberly tells me she eats mostly from her own garden where she grows food and also cultivates a habitat for native bees as her response to bee colony collapse. She currently has over 78 species of native bees. She and her husband, Foster Gamble, live in Santa Cruz, California. They have children and grandchildren living nearby and she helps care for her 94-year-old mother, who has Alzheimers. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Kimberly in person a couple of times for great conversations about our shared passion for the thriving of people and planet. This is another fabulous conversation – whether or not you agree with Kimberly’s views, I am sure you will find it fascinating. We talk about health freedom, transhumanism, Big Data, learning to disagree respectfully, courage, purpose and passion, life, death, consciousness and spirituality…. And, of course, thriving. I really enjoyed this conversation enormously. I really appreciate Kimberly’s philosophy of freedom and non-violation, and I’m going to steal her saying: “I am a friend of your soul and an enemy of your project”. I couldn’t agree more that we have to remember how to listen to each other, and to disagree respectfully. Especially as we approach the holidays, when we might well spend time with family members who have a different view from us, this was a really timely reminder. Links: Kimberly’s Health Freedom series of videos
December 15, 2021
John Buck and Monika Megyesi: Sociocracy, Circles, and Cells
Following on from my conversation with Ted Rau a few weeks ago, when I promised you more on sociocracy, I’m delighted to introduce you to the work of John Buck and Monika Megyesi from Governance Alive. John and his partners have introduced hundreds of businesses to the power of sociocracy, bringing new levels of efficiencies, engagement, connectedness, and satisfaction. An expert in the synthesis of social technologies like Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, Sociocracy & Agile, John has co-authored books such as “We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy,” and “Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy”. Monika Megyesi started out studying human anatomy and training as a nurse. She was struck by the ability of human bodies to heal themselves, and saw how self-healing functions could be brought to the human systems surrounding her. She has a business degree from the University of Maryland, she co-founded the Entrepreneurial Partnership of Greater Washington, and she has a Masters in Negotiations and Conflict Management at the University of Baltimore. Her motto and driving inspiration is summed up in the words “Awaken to Life: You matter! You belong!” In this conversation, we talk about sociocracy, structures, feedback loops, vulnerability, conversations in rounds, consent and consensus, embodied decision-making, eyeballs, yin and yang, circles and lines, and – something that was a very alien concept to me in my corporate career – meetings that people look forward to. I feel so encouraged that there are these powerful social technologies that can really help people to thrive in their work. I absolutely believe that we need all hands on deck if we’re going to ride the waves of change, and sociocracy can make sure we’re all crew, no passengers, while creating more resilient, robust organisations better suited to the uncharted waters ahead. Patreons can enjoy this podcast from today. If you’re not yet a supporter on Patreon, do please consider signing up. Benefits for patrons include live zoom calls with me, and access to the video version of the conversation. Else you can enjoy this podcast from next week for free on the usual podcast platforms.
December 09, 2021
Peggy Liu: Change, Potentiality, and Tornado Leadership
Also known as the Green Goddess of China, Peggy Liu is Chairperson of Joint US-China Collaboration for Clean Energy (JUCCCE), and a leading environmentalist. Named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time, she has successfully catalyzed change for over a billion people, seven times over. Peggy's superpower is bringing people together to bring in a better future faster. Her latest project, the "Tornado Leadership" methodology, draws from her work across policy, economic, technical, and spiritual realms to lead societal-scale changes. She lives in Shanghai. I’ve known Peggy since 2017, when I was lucky enough to spend some time in China – first teaching at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and then staying with Peggy in central Shanghai. There are many wonderful things I could say about Peggy, but the main thing I admire her for is her ability to get stuff done. This could be connected to the fact that, as far as I can tell, she appears to never sleep. In this conversation, we talk about how our perceptions shape our world, yin-yang polarities and energetics, alignment and resonance, bridges, wanting to be a robot, avatars, algorithms, and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. And, of course, Tornado Leadership. I really appreciated Peggy’s image of the tornado of change – how we get it spinning, help it gather momentum, and draw people in. It’s a perfect metaphor for change, and in fact, quite a perfect metaphor for the whirlwind that is Peggy Liu.
December 02, 2021
Paul Hawken: Joy, Courage and Connection
This week’s guest is a legend of American environmentalism, Paul Hawken. Paul starts ecological businesses, writes about nature and commerce, and consults with governments and CEOs on climatic, economic and ecological regeneration. He lives in Cascade Canyon in Northern California with nuthatches, grey fox, coyotes, pileated woodpeckers, and a red-shouldered hawk who visits regularly on field mouse patrol. He has written eight books, is published in 30 languages, and his books are available in over 90 countries. His book Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming debuted as a NYT bestseller in 2017. He just completed his latest work in September, Regeneration, Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. Paul will send a free copy to the first person who can guess his favorite food (hint: it is a plant). I’ve known Paul since we met at Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado, in May 2007 (photo at the bottom of this post). It was a real joy to catch up with him, and talk about regeneration, apocalypse, fear, joy and courage, behaviour change, climate communication, COP26, male vertebrates, plant intelligence, and being a piss poor Buddhist. It was such a joy for me to spend time with Paul again. He has this wonderful mix of serenity and spark, positivity and practicality, and a determination to make the world a better place while also a Buddhist acceptance of what is. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Paul’s website: https://paulhawken.com/ Project Drawdown: https://drawdown.org/ Regeneration: https://regeneration.org/home
November 24, 2021
Ted Rau - Sociocracy for All
My guest this week is Ted Rau, operational leader of Sociocracy For All. If you’re not familiar with sociocracy, Ted does a great job of explaining it during our conversation, but I’ll just say briefly here that it’s a fantastic way that people can organise themselves to get things done in an inclusive and democratic way – whether that’s in intentional communities, for profit or non-profit organisations, neighbourhoods – or who knows, maybe one day, even governments. Ted spends most of his time training and consulting in sociocracy and leading SoFA as an organisation. He is co-author of the sociocracy handbook Many Voices, One Song. When he’s not busy sociocratising, he writes articles, and teaches meeting facilitation, and also takes an active interest the co-housing movement, transgender rights, and non-violent communication. His background is in linguistics, which taught him to find patterns that work well for the human mind, and break things down so they can be easily understood. One of the reasons I get excited about sociocracy is that research shows that something like 85% of employees are disengaged in the workplace, but that figure improves dramatically when people work for themselves, meaning they have more power of self-determination. And yet we often need to work with others in order to get stuff done. So sociocracy seems to be the best of both worlds – it gives us a way to collaborate in ways that create trust, respect, autonomy, and engagement. We have another conversation on sociocracy coming up in three weeks, with John Buck and Monika Megyesi, when you’ll have a chance to find out more about these important ideas. Patreons can enjoy this podcast from today. If you’re not yet a supporter on Patreon, do please consider signing up. Benefits for patrons include live zoom calls with me, and access to the video version of the conversation. Else you can enjoy this podcast from next week for free on the usual podcast platforms. And our archive of conversations - with Charles Eisenstein, Tim Jackson, Jude Currivan, Bill McKibben and Sharon Blackie are available for free on Spotify, and now also on Apple Podcasts!
November 17, 2021
Sharon Blackie - Connection, Consequences, and Crones
Dr. Sharon Blackie is probably best known as the best-selling author of If Women Rose Rooted, which weaves together Celtic mythology, stories of modern day ecological heroines, and her personal story of escape from the Wasteland of so-called civilisation into the wild and wonderful edges of Ireland and Scotland. Her work explores the relevance of myth, fairy tales and folk traditions to the personal, social and environmental problems we face today. She now lives in Wales, in an old house which began life in the 1700s as a tiny nonconformist chapel, on a small farm in the Cambrian mountains. She and her husband live there with their hens, a flock of pedigree sheep, four border collies and Maeve, a tabby kitten also known as The Kitten of the Apocalypse. Sadly, we didn’t get around to discussing the Kitten of the Apocalypse – although the kitten did come up in conversation before we started recording, as she had just irreparably destroyed Sharon’s headset – but we do talk about Celtic mythology, connection with land, talking to crows, the hero’s and heroine’s journeys, the Soul of the World, community, social media, the patriarchy, and Sharon’s forthcoming book on the joys and role of the older woman, Hagitude. Sharon tells me her favourite fictional character is Terry Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax, a not-to-be-messed-with old mountain witch in whose image she plans to model her old age. When in doubt, she asks myself, ‘What would Granny do?’ Granny seems to be doing a great job so far of being a guiding star for Sharon, having recently helped her navigate a major international relocation, a global pandemic, a bout of rheumatoid arthritis, and lymphoma. I know you will enjoy this conversation. I really appreciate how Sharon emphasises the importance of our own place – not trying to save the planet as an abstract idea, but really cherishing the land beneath our feet, the birds and animals we encounter in our everyday lives, the very real reality of right here – and also this idea of touching the natural world, and allowing it to touch us, feel the rain on our face, the wind in our hair. And trust me – if you can grow to love and appreciate the weather in the north of Scotland, or the west of Ireland, you can love it anywhere. Please subscribe to my Youtube, Twitter, and join my community for special access on Patreon.
November 10, 2021
Bill McKibben—Divestment, Disobedience, and How to Make a Difference
Delighted to share this conversation with the legendary Bill McKibben of 350. Bill is one of the most tenacious eco-warriors I know, and a great inspiration to me. In this conversation we talk about climate change – of course – but also oil companies, denial and disinformation, the Koch brothers, Greta Thunberg, solar power, the work of science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, New York, Washington, COP26, the book of Job, nuclear bombs, the role of over 60s in climate activism, and bush-whacking (and I don’t mean the former president). Very appropriate timing, as we approach COP26 next week. https://www.rozsavage.com/bill-mckibben-divestment.../ #inspiration #climatecrisis #cop26glasgow www.rozsavage.com
November 03, 2021
Jude Currivan - A Cosmology of Love and Relationship
Loved this conversation with Dr Jude Currivan about a new cosmology of love and relationship. We touch on divinity and humanity, science and spirituality, mysticism, complex systems, intuition, coalitions of the willing, The Celestine Prophecy, Gaia, internet bullying, Buddha babies, the year 2067, the Big Bang (although Jude contends that it wasn’t Big and it wasn’t a Bang), Abba, forest bathing, kohlrabi and brassica massacres – and literally the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. https://lnkd.in/dCnV6JmS. We are also now available on Apple podcasts - https://lnkd.in/dk6NBEsB - hurrah! We are looking for aligned organisations (corporate, educational, foundations) to sponsor Season 2. Please DM me if you're interested. #love #science #cosmology #universe
October 27, 2021
Professor Tim Jackson - Happiness and Wellbeing in a Post-Growth World
My guest on this week’s podcast is Professor Tim Jackson, ecological economist, author, and playwright. Since 2016 he has been Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) at the University of Surrey in the UK, where he is also Professor of Sustainable Development. He is well known for his book, Prosperity without Growth (2009/2017) which has been translated into 17 foreign languages. His latest book Post Growth – Life after Capitalism was published by Polity Press this year. In 2016, Tim was awarded the Hillary Laureate for exceptional international leadership in sustainability. In addition to his academic work, Tim is an award-winning dramatist with numerous radio-writing credits for the BBC. Tim was one of my examiners for my recent doctorate on the nature of change. Towards the end of our conversation he mentions that it’s quite entertaining that the tables are now turned, and the fact that he gave me a moderately hard time in my viva, or doctoral defence as Americans call it. So yes, he did make me sweat. But actually I’m immensely grateful to him, because the amendments he requested are now forming the core of my forthcoming book, The Ocean in a Drop. But I have to admit that coming into this conversation, I did feel a bit like a poorly prepared undergraduate heading into an exam. I hope my nerves aren’t too obvious! We talk about Aristotle, wisdom, resilience, fear, consumer capitalism, Maslow’s hierarchy, 100 year plans, inequality, the 1%, materialism, the science of desire, pitchforks, revolutions, yoga, yin and yang, the patriarchy, and our mutual confession to being closet monarchists. What I really appreciate about Tim is his courage to question the status quo, especially around GDP as the pre-eminent metric of success – when we know it’s a tremendously poor indicator of wellbeing and happiness. We’ve been sold this myth that sustainability is all about sacrifice and wearing a hair shirt and it just isn’t true. Once our basic needs are met, we really do have the opportunity to have happier people AND a healthier planet – at the same time – by focusing on the things that bring real joy, like doing fulfilling work, having healthy relationships, and feeling safe and supported by our community – we really can have our environmental cake, and eat it.
October 20, 2021
Charles Eisenstein: From Separation to Interbeing
Charles is an essayist, speaker, and the author of several books including Sacred Economics, Climate: A New Story, and The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible. He has four sons and a little dog named Inka. He lives with wife and youngest son in Rhode Island. He tells me his garden and office are messy. I know you’re going to love this conversation. We talk about changing our story from a Myth of Separation to a Story of Interbeing. We talk about Taoism, miracles, sacredness, success, happiness, breakdown, breakthrough, food production, gaslighting, love, death, trauma, raising kids, the matrix, and the joys of being a misfit. Oh, and there are jetskis and psychedelics in there as well. I first met Charles in 2012 at Yale, and then we crossed paths again at the Global Economic Visioning Summit at Bretton Woods in 2018, where Charles kicked off the event with an amazing double-act with Daniel Schmachtenberger, where they very movingly described their hopes and fears for our future. Charles is one of the smartest, most thoughtful people I know, who combines a sharp intellect with great compassion for humanity. He publishes thought-provoking essays on his website, at charleseisenstein.org.
October 13, 2021