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May 27, 2006


Chris Corrigan heart is pounding.

This is what it is all about. Peter and others, how shall we play? What shall we do? In what way shall we enter the unknowing potential of important legacies of action and responsibility?


I'm thinking that Emerging Futures Network could participate by organizing the support systems. As you suggest we could start with creating some Civicspace infrastructure, but could bring in any other tools as appropriate.

I'm really loving the way things are coming together.


I just created a discussion in the EFN group at Onet to talk about how we could support the communities and networks that are spawned by these conferences.


Hope almost hurts, doesn't it, after so long?

Julie Caldwell

What other supports, people and resources would need to come together to support an initiative like this? Some of the folks at Emerging Futures Network would like to support this work. Please visit this link : to brainstorm with us overthere.

(She blushes)…i still don’t understand how to work inside these blogs or to know when folks have responded and such…

so if you don’t mind playing in the Emerging Futures space, I understand how that one work… thanks :^)


Julie, I did link to the Emerging Futures conversation. All these conversations are preliminary to Peter himself coming up with a plan. I suspect he is already talking to various foundations about supporting this. The enthusiasm at EFN is inspiring. What you might consider is where your team might need to host a local event? What would you need to make it happen in a particular community?


Hope almost hurts, doesn't it, after so long?

You get so used to thinking that nothing much of importance will ever happen. Little steps and convergences give us small hope, but then something shifts and a number of things start happening all at once. It's really exciting, but dare we get our hopes up? I think so.

Jon Husband

Very interesting ... and of course it would accomplish many amazing positive things.


Thanks, Jon. Faith, hope and charity - about sums it up, I guess.


Hope hurts so much, you cry. Funny, Gerry, that you talk about little steps. When I see that and combined with hope, it's very emotional for me. I cannot help but think about our older daughter. She is starting to move individual fingers. Differentiation, they call it. Taken close to ten years, but it's happening.

Same with everyone in the world. We are beginning to move our individual fingers to grasp. Both as separate individuals and as a whole. Whether on a small scale or on a larger scale, it's a small miracle.

Am I crying? You bet. The possibilities of slow, steady progress towards healing our planet is pretty phenominol. Not even tiny steps. More like many tiny intentions of steps. Very profound and very meaningful. I am grateful to be a small part in it.


Hope will no doubt be branded, but not here. We want the wild kind here, that grows up like a hardy flower in even the driest ground.


The desert in bloom.

A number of years ago, el nino caused Death Valley to bloom. So exquisite, it was even on a news site. These photos aren't as stunning, but will do in a pinch.

If Death Valley can bloom, then just about anything is possible.


Well put, Debbie, thanks.

Laure Dillon

Water hope with our tears of compassion and joy.

Ideas large and small are emerging quickly and slowly simultaneously. We understand now is the time for action because there is such great urgency on a global scale.

I think climate change ramifications will quickly become our (almost) sole subject of discusison in the very near future at every level of discussion and action. We are becoming aware that all life on Earth depends on each of us making significant changes -- globally, nationally, regionally, and personally in our community and individually to slow the changes that are upon us.

We, the people of the world, have not yet developed our global citizens' voice, nor have we come to understand what "the world we want" looks like. That conversation needs to happen via the internet and wider channels of communication -- something I am coming to think of as a "Consensus Conversation on Climate Change". Such a gathering would bring together a significant number of eminent scientists who would publicly and honestly discuss what is happening, how quickly it is happening, what actually needs to be done, and on what timetable, to slow climate change to a liveable level. The Consensus Conversation would include people from all walks of life: statesmen, thinkers, community activists, current and past elected officials, business people, educators, etc. There we would work with the scientists to reach consensus on how to make the necessary changes on a schedule that slows climate change to liveable levels.

Once such consensus is reached and we collectively understand what we face, then implementation at all levels of scale can be more easily developed, organized and activated.

Many replicable systems of every sort are needed. One such need is simplified communications and data exchange systems to organize and disseminate material. Many folks are already discussing this, both here and at Emerging Futures Network (i.e. the Data Exchange and the international network of Peace -- or Climate Change -- Centers). This is a big discussion that will surely go on for a long time.

As we discover what we must do to have a sustainable world, one that protects humans, plant and animal ecosystems on land and sea in perpetuity, we will also discover "the world we want".

Sorry, this has become lengthy. More later.


Thanks, Laure. Please do continue your thoughts here or link to them elsewhere.

Julie Caldwell

Yes, I see several community events... when you say local are you thinking Elko or Las Vegas as in Julie lives in Nevada? Or, O.NET as in our July, Chicago meetup? Or, evenbetter a few mashups...unconferences... open spaces and some appreciative inquiry...

Regarding the desert flowers blooming. I was in Death Valley in 2002 or 2003, the year of the great bloom that made all of the papers celebrating Dave and my anniversary.


Phil wrote to Peter:

I know from our recent conversation that you are planning a series of local, grassroots convening across the US to coincide with the publication of

So it looks like, yes, in many local communities across the country. We don't know how they would be initiated or organized, but we know that Peter has contacts across the country. Our network might support designated groups of people in organizing and facilitating Open Space events, or they might choose to do it another way.


I find it easier to think of a specific location and imagine what might work there. I can imagine Chicago, having been there for two open space meetings on giving. I can imagine Dallas, since I live here. So, I am wondering how various people might visualize an open space giving forum working in their own town or city and what role they might play in organizing it, if a "template" were available and modest seed money for a room?


I am greatly inspired by the pregnant phrase and question of the "world we want"

What is the challenge on every local front? Perhaps this is not the place for the question, but I'll pose it here anyway... we come together and we are used to traveling and alotting time for something special to happen.

Have we each done this (set aside such a chunk of time and attention) locally when we werent playing a leading organizing role?

What would attract someone local to one of these events - such that they might devote three days?

Have we arrived at a phrase that matters?

Recently in Chicago, Max Gail, a friend and a member of the board of Time Dollar Tutoring, a Chicago-based tech-oriented NPO, engaged friends of that organization in a short open space LAP. As short as it was, everyone recognized: we should do this more often; we don't get the chance to share in this way.

Julie Caldwell

Phil, I'd love to host an openspace event for The World We Want in Elko, Nevada. It would make a great experiment as we are the most rural county and the last registered frontier in the lower 48.

It would fit nicely with the civic work already in place with the Elko Peace Park we are building and possible next steps, such as an Elko Peace Center.

I want to see the local meeting attract lots and lots of youth and their families.

Elko will be interesting. 80% of our zipcode voted for Bush! We have a high transient population. Rank highest in the nation for youth suicide and juvinille incarcirations.

Elko doesn't even have a community center for their youth.

We're looking at how to engage our youth and Peace Park folks in putting on a music festival in late September or October. Half the funds for the park and the other half for the youth to decide how to spend it, for the world they want.

I'm seeing a battle of the bands (all the local kids coming out of the rural communities), bbq cook-offs, sidewalk chalk painting and a main act or two to bring in the sunset on a day of fine things (food, drink, play, connecting).

Somewhere in the mix, probably a couple of week after, we host the open space. Hold the discussion, The World We Want.

The last week of October is Nevada Shade Tree Week. We are planting our first grove of trees and shubs in our peacepark.

Donations accepted at

$80 buys a tree...


You know, maybe Peter needs to get out in front of this before things start happening on their own. In Open Space, we know the answer would be go for it, but this did start with Peter's initiative, so we would very much want his blessing before jumping into anything. I appreciate that he may have a sequence of events to manage and timing to consider and would want to support his efforts for maximum impact.

On the other hand, I think it is likely that this will show up on the wall in Chicago, and that those gathered will make the initiative their own.


Yes, wow. These are all great thoughts. I agree that Peter is the the "field marshall" here and that the troops should wait for a battle plan, one that Peter is himself now working on, I believe. But I am pretty sure he is looking for a self-organizing democratic upsure. Hard to "plan" that from afar. So we are giving him a kind of "focus group" here and "brainstorming center."
I am pretty sure he reads this stuff and weighs it.

I will try to draw some of the threads together when I have a chance to concentrate on it, and draw the synthesis to his attention. Ultimately, we will "swerve" in the direction he can get supported by his funders, if he succeeds in raising money.


What would attract people? I have one "hot" idea that I got from a mysterious "Klaus" who frequents the margins of these conversations:

Work with civicspace to create a master site to support the world we want. At the click of the mouse, have that site "cloned" by any local group that organizes a world we want meet-up. The site would contain email, forums, wiki, fundraising tools, boilerplate, free blog capacity, tools for lobbying local politicians as well as national, etc.

We would not dictate "Red" or "Blue." We want democracy, not people to agree with us. Join the conversation and get the tools for free. Then the local conversations and sites are linked in a federation of sites and conversations.

Klaus says this is not a monumental deal. It could be done on the cheap. Civicspace itself is moving in this direction, hoping to become a kind of "typepad" of community building tools. So the cost to the local chapter might be $30-50 a month server fees. That would not be too hard to raise. And what would come out of it in Elko, Dallas, Boston, Sioux City, would depend on the local community and the use they make of it. We just remain "federated" to learn from one another as we go along.

The World We Want, the communities we want, are local and plural as well as national and united. (E pluribus unum, these "United states of America.")



What more is there to add until the field marshal speaks. The discussion of technical infrastructure for EFN goes on either way, and may add to this option or go another similar way.


I have written up a summary as Open Letter Part II, and have emailed Peter asking for his thoughts.

Julie Caldwell

$30-$50 is alot of rent for community organizers. What can we create that is free and available to world-wide participation, anything less than this is not really about the World We Want.

With that said, I'm fine with fees for more elaborate services but the basic package is free.

My dream is that we build a new type of platform that brings together a multitude of players, their tools and their networks. I'd like to use these meetings to have our technology people work out the neccessary design specs with the partners that step up from these conversations.


Presumably, there would be sites, like the home base site for WWW that would be free. The issue, honestly, is ownership and control. O/net is free and has no constitution for exactly that reason. By making the source code avaialable WWW would avoid trying to corner the market on philanthorpy and social organizing. You would not be trapped in a walled garden as part of someone else's business plan. If you wanted your own WWW subsite, all it would cost is a modest amount, maybe server fees or may a relatively small monthly charge. If you were happy hanging out at the central site and having your own blogs there and own discussion forum there, etc, that presumably would be free. But you would not be locked in as you are at, for example, You would have the choice of saying, "I like the tools, but our group wants its own site, so it can have more self determination."

But I hear you on cost. Free is good as an option.

(The $30-50 is a range I got from Civicspace itself for a projected service patterned on typepad, where people could set up a site in Civicspace with a few clicks of the mouse, and have it hosted with Civicspace. Right now Civicspace is, I believe, free, you just have have it on a server somewhere and a person who installs it.)


Diogenes, agreeing with the high mindedness of intent, would choke on "philanthropy" and its languages of money and virtue. Misanthropy he could work with. Perhaps work wonders with. It's more fun, and has been known to wake up sleepwalkers.

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