Robertson Work has over five decades of professional experience promoting sustainable human development in over fifty countries as UNDP principal policy advisor for decentralized and local governance, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service professor of innovative leadership, and Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA). This is Part Two of my conversation with him about decentralized community building and governance.
This Week I Learned
- This week, I learned more about Ken Wilber’s Four Integral Quadrants which is a tool that helps us take as many perspectives into account as possible at all times. Each quadrant represents a fundamental dimension of life with all four acting together at all times. It’s a fascinating tool for understanding the world around us and I’ll include more information and links for it in the show notes.
- Wine associations in Europe are changing the restrictions of their protected grape growing regions because higher temperatures in recent decades are changing the flavor of the wine. Now, to get the same traditional flavor for a Chianti, Rioja, and others, they have to grow the grapes further north. This is stone-cold (or hot?) evidence that global temperatures are rising.
- The EU has just passed a law requiring all tech companies provide charging support for USB-C cables by the end of 2024. They estimate it will eliminate about 11,000 tons of annual waste and save consumers $250 million euros a year on buying up new cables and charging ports. While those wins are worth celebrating, this is another example of a another tech silo potentially coming apart. No longer will you need proprietary, custom adapters to charge or connect apple devices to other devices, they will now be usable by a single standard across the tech ecosystem in Europe.
In the beginning, Robertson shares his most important insight for effective decentralized community building which are these key things:
- The full participation of residents at every stage
- Facilitation and participatory workshops
- Networking with public, private, and non-profit sectors
- Creating multi-stakeholder partnerships
- Addressing all problems in a geographic area
- Working with all age groups in the area
- Creating motivating stories, songs, and symbols
- Addressing the depth problem by empowering people
- Working on behalf of communities
- Working in an integral manner to change cultures, principles, and policies
If you are interested in engaging in community building, Robertson recommends to start by talking to others to learn other perspectives, join together to take action, and get early wins to show validity of the efforts. Patience is an important element of this entire process.
Robertson shares how a liberal arts education was key to him and how that opened doors to a conference in Chicago that launched him into his life journey. From there, Robertson has traveled and worked in dozens of countries around the world gaining and giving perspective to others for building stronger, healthier planet and people.
Robertson created a framework of six strategies that shape what we must be doing now:
- Environmental Sustainability
- Establish Gender Equality
- Socioeconomic Justice
- Participatory Governance
- Cultural Tolerance
- Peace & Non-Violence
Robertson recommends looking into these groups to start taking action in your area today:
- Doughnut Economics (book) & D.E.A.L.
- TOP Facilitation by Institute of Cultural Affairs
- Other facilitation methods by International Association of Facilitators
- Dee Hock’s Chaordic Organizational Theory (theory & book)
- Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory
- Social Artistry by Jean Houston
- (In WNC)
I don’t see any alternative … It’s not enough to just work at the national level. I believe we must empower each person to do what he/she/they can do with their neighbors in their local bioregion to address climate chaos, ecocide, misogyny, patriarchy, fascism, racism, and cultural violence.Robertson Work
Robertson Work is an ecosystem/justice activist based in the Swannanoa watershed in western North Carolina and the author of five nonfiction books. He has over five decades of professional experience promoting sustainable human development in over fifty countries as UNDP principal policy advisor for decentralized and local governance, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service professor of innovative leadership, and Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) country and regional director conducting community, organizational, and leadership development initiatives.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His books are available here and elsewhere: https://www.amazon.com/Robertson-Work/e/B075612GBF