The multiple Earths on this catalog’s cover were envisioned by a machine asked to imagine what the Earth looks like. No two are exactly alike. Every shifting cloud and continent depicts a different iteration of how the Earth could be.
The ways we build our world each day are similarly dynamic. Every decision made, no matter how trivial, branches into endless potential paths. More possibilities exist for our Earth’s future than any one person could come up with alone. Some paths will lead us to a world ruled by love and dignity, where life flourishes. Other worlds will differ still. Some will see us separate into opposing sides and destroy ourselves, while others will see us work together, ready to explore the cosmos. Many more future worlds remain dormant, until we bring them to life.
Which world will you choose to help create?
Trained on 14,142 images from https://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/ using StyleGAN. With special thanks to Gene Kogan.
The focus of this catalog is to showcase a vision for humanity, and our world, to arrive at by the year 2050. To achieve this vision, and to break from many of the harmful trends of today, we believe our thinking needs to become more imaginative, more daring, and more emboldened.
While the following sections will offer information about inspiring people, collectives, and events we believe are positively shaping the future, this compendium is not complete or exhaustive. Everything is always changing, especially conduits of inspiration. The information in the catalog represents what we have the capacity to see and explain at this present moment. As always, and as with everything, this information is ever evolving…
To help promote thinking along these lines and reclaim innovation as a fundamental human ability, this catalog contains system theories, regenerative principles, and insights from our collective experience and perspectives accrued over decades working in the innovation business sector. Beyond our professional backgrounds, we are gathered as concerned world citizens in conversation around how to do better by one another and our planet. To this effect, we set out to describe what the roots of mass transformation look like in 2019, how these conditions mirror other epochs, and how conditions for change might grow in detail, dimension and scale by 2050.
As individuals with our own histories, proclivities, and energies, we are aware of the limitations in our perspectives. Yet as a group committed to address the effects of global issues we run up against every day, we feel well positioned to assemble our research around alternative practices we find inspiring, diverse ways of problem-solving, and what we believe are the key ingredients to a just, sustainable and creative future.
As the authors of this text, our intent is to share ideas on topics of interest within our studios and foster dialogue with our friends, family, colleagues, children, or anyone who wishes to communicate perspectives on life and our changing world. The subsections of these pages hope to enliven discussion around the loose definitions of innovation, and how this human faculty for imaginative, radical change can drive us forward. We are writing this catalog as a response to dehumanization, deforestation, and degradation everywhere, as much as to add our voices to the call for de-commodification, de-enclosure, and de-growth.
We believe that humanity already possesses many of the tools, knowhow and capabilities for choosing inclusive and regenerative solutions that can be used to tackle the systemic problems we face on this planet. We believe we need to recognize humanity’s amazing abilities, as well as understand where we’ve gone wrong, and the challenges we’re up against. By doing this, we can begin to restore relationships between people and planet by leveraging our ability to innovate and align our activities with universal laws of nature. We must acknowledge that solidarity and mass mobilization is the linchpin of change, and draw upon principles and patterns that have the power to unify. We must depart from a hostile status quo and move boldly into more uplifting societal agreements. At that point, we can apply our lessons, experiences, and collective knowledge to rebuild alternate systems that allow us to live lives of passion and authenticity. In this way, we will create ideal conditions to expansively explore our universe—from our most inner to our farthest outer spaces—together.
Our intention is to tell a story about what we believe constitutes positive change. We want to explore a daring spectrum of possibilities that can start to chip away at a malignant system and —more importantly—strengthen systems that prioritize thriving life. The sections of this catalog evoke crisis and resolution, historical anecdotes about revolution, along with tools, principles, and patterns that have served people and planet well over different locations and various ages. Our goal is to acknowledge Earth’s sacred capacity for healing, repair, and renewal. We believe the best approach we can take is to maintain an open perspective and listen to insights from others who share wisdom of phenomena fundamental to inspiring systemic change. By integrating nature’s observable and mysterious principles, we can create a wildly positive future.
We hope you find the same joy and inspiration in reading this catalog as we did in compiling it. Have a wonderful journey…
Piece by piece, section by section, settle into a stream and ride the current, or jump around.
No right or wrong. See where intuition takes you, dear reader.
“In this ideal text, the networks are many and interact, without any of them being able to surpass the rest; this text is a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one; the codes it mobilizes extend as far as the eye can reach, they are indeterminable…the system of meaning can take over this absolutely plural text, but their number is never closed, based as it is on the infinity of language.” — Roland Barthes, SZ, 1970
The act of reading can become an act of writing. As the reader draws meaning from passages, they can infer possibilities potentially unknown to the authors. When French theorist Roland Barthes differentiated between a readerly text and a writerly text, he was explaining how narratives can lend themselves to interpretation.
In that open space for exploration, we may find our words offering ideas beyond the scope of our own imagination. In writing this catalog, our desire is that each reader will help bring forth new discoveries and understandings to the topics under consideration.
Everyone has value and is a creative force by virtue of one’s very existence.
As a concept, innovation cuts to the core of what makes the human animal so distinctive. Innovation illustrates how we, as a species, can create and problem-solve on such massive scales.
From the moment our earliest ancestors started fashioning basic tools from the materials around them, we began to shape our environments in ways that allowed us to achieve increasingly complex goals. This urge to improve appears to be hardwired. Biologically, it is thought that we’ve evolved relatively little since we began this journey, but our ability to innovate has managed to take us to the stars.
The more imaginative we continue to become, the more inventive and far-out our innovations might subsequently be. Future solutions to current challenges are sleeping within us. By asking pertinent questions, probing compelling notions, and persistently pressing the limits of knowledge, we can awaken the beast of innovation and harness its powers for our elevated purposes.
Everybody can innovate. All people have the ability to find new and better ways to solve problems and help one another live up to our fullest potential. Once all people have freedom to do so, we can prepare the groundwork for a world that encourages the pursuit of creativity across all layers of society.
Innovation is everywhere, it’s always present. Innovation thrives in open discourse. And yet, it’s long been cloistered off in secretive labs that demand confidentiality agreements in fear of companies losing their competitive edge.
This catalog is a response to siloed thinking and behavior. Innovation in the future has be “outward” instead of “inward”. Innovation for everyone requires implementing drivers to establish a universal baseline satisfying all layers of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The more we realize every person’s capacity for innovation, the more cooperation is possible between people. This is a crucial component for responding to the monumental challenges intensifying before us. We have to demand that this change happen. The more we refuse to change, the more we stick to our unsustainable models of industry, the better chance we have of leading ourselves somewhere dystopian. We need to strive for big, bold action that will happen fast. This is a pivotal time to shift course and self-actualize on an incredible scale.we look into this primary relationship, the clearer it is that we still have much further yet to go.
In the fall of 1968, the first Whole Earth Catalog offered a first look at Earth seen from space. The catalog’s subtitle, “access to tools”, suggested a wide-ranging scope of counter-culture alternatives to that era’s status quo.
Fifty years after the Whole Earth Catalog’s first publication, we wonder how its themes of ecology, self-sufficiency, and holism can be updated to account for the sweeping cultural and political change that has occurred over the intervening years. Although some of the content within that book may appear quaint in retrospect, in our minds, much of it should remain relevant to contemporary sensibilities. Some of the tools from the Whole Earth Catalog include: Geodesic domes for pre-fab shelter, vegetarian cookbooks for healthy diets, and even early personal computers.
Conversely, the avant-garde tools we’re dealing with in our current climate include: shape-shifting / 4D materials, automated robotics, and investigations into AI and quantum computing. Certain as caterpillars continue to change into butterflies through metamorphosis, so too do we believe innovation will transform dramatically in the coming decades. Yet, no matter how advanced our capabilities become, basic tools should not be negated. Hammers, fire, wheels. Eye contact. Breathwork. These are tools that will never go out of fashion.
We believe practitioners of innovation will soon begin directing initiatives to replace the profit-driven model. After all, it doesn’t matter how much money you have when your city is submerged by the rising oceans. So we need to see our way beyond the status quo and make our work as accessible as possible so others can join forces with us. Innovation must focus on whole systems, beginning with systemic issues most in need of revision. Our catalog acts as an inquiry into human-made problems and the probable solutions we have found thus far. Changing Matter refers to shape-shifting priorities, subjects of focus, as well as material concerns. We are inspired by the proposed ability of the mind to direct matter and the potential for humans to respond to our ongoing creation of waste with innovative approaches for renewal.
We feel ourselves stepping into change. Our perspectives continue to open and synchronize around new scientific observations and spiritual insights which continue to confirm our reliance on the natural world. The more we look into this primary relationship, the clearer it is that we still have much further yet to go.
- The Power of Humility
- Healthy Habits
- Environmental Actors
- Economic Priorities
- Lessons Ahead