Sun 23 Feb 2020

An open response to XR-Story-Vision in 2020

Phil Green Public Seen by 190

Thanks to Edwin for the link in Empathy Cafe: Share Your XR Vision 2020: Wednesday, March 4 and 18
I'm posting an open response here so as to be acting in line with my own comment. (Copy of email)

Response to XR-Story-Vision in 2020

Firstly thank you for the opportunity to comment on this document. In addition to this email I'm copying this response to the XR Future Democracy Hub discussion platform (loomio) & CASwiki

Why an open response? Ideally those of us who are interested in this need to see what each other are saying, and the technology to do this exists, so why not use it? Open response can enable feedback upon feedback, ongoing always-open dialogue, and a potentially deeper and richer conversation.

I get that the document may have a focus on XR, but probably a lot of my comment is from a sort of wider movement (or movement of movements) perspective. (1) Within this wider movement it seems to me that a diversity of approaches is possible, perhaps also probable, and maybe both necessary and desirable. (2)

Parts of the document which I strongly support:
1. more about how (XR and the wider movement's) concerns are
- relevant to the "nearer-term" p 4
- can be seen as "human-centric", p 4
2. recognition of the need for, and importance of a positive vision
3. "This is about leading an undivided life ... It needs everyone to feel acknowledged and appreciated." p 17

So my positive vision of a successful XR at the end of 2020 includes:

Throughout 2020 XR has not only grown the movement, but continued to value, appreciate and nurture all parts of the existing movement. It has also built on previous success.

One of the successes has been an increase in carbon literacy. Building on this has gone beyond climate assemblies, increasing and deepening carbon literacy for citizens, within communities and across society as a whole. There's been an increased understanding of both carbon costs and potential carbon savings from the whole range of climate change solutions.

One of the benefits of this increased carbon literacy has been the recognition that the behaviour of a lot of us as citizens, within peer groups, communities, generations and across society as a whole has been part of the ongoing problem. "If so many of us go on as we are, then it’s curtains for humanity." (3) But that we can all be part of the solution.

One particular aspect that's beginning to be tackled at last is the locking in of carbon costs to our communities through forward planning and house building. During and throughout this crucial decade in which we feel it's vital to be reducing carbon, we should not allow ourselves and our communities to be corralled into locking in vast carbon costs, throughout this whole decade. (4) (5) (6) (7) This is also an essential part of the movement towards "future democracy"

The movement has continued to develop and enrich positive visions of a postcarbon future. The concept of well being has been central to this. So within our local communities can we create an environment of well being, a society of well being and an economy of well being that works for all?

Phil Green, Community action for sustainability, CASwiki

Notes and references
1. "We are here to help enable a movement of movements to deliver a global social, political and economic transformation." XR-Story-Vision in 2020, p 29
2. "To build this coalition we need to tell not one story, but many different stories each resonating with different parts of society and engaging those that have not supported action previously." Feb 18, 2020, How to make friends and decarbonise people: The need for user-centered advocacy within the climate action movement, Tom Harrison
3. Purposely adapted from XR-Story-Vision in 2020, p 15
4. "In the UK, the built environment as a whole is responsible for 42% of national emissions. The manner in which we produce, operate and renew our built environment continues to curtail biodiversity, pollute ecosystems and encourage unsustainable lifestyles." Architects Climate Action Network
5. The carbon cost to communities of new housing has not been well shown by the way carbon accounts have been constructed in the past. Whilst some carbon costs are visible eg by locking us into yet more car dependency (see ref below), embedded carbon (in construction materials) has not been adequately shown. For this reason it seems unlikely that either the UK Climate assembly, or local assemblies will adequately address this issue. / Jan 21, 2020, New UK housing 'dominated by roads' "... too many highways engineers are still approving roads that do not fully account for pedestrians and cyclists." Prof Matthew Carmona, University College London. Government poll suggests 76% of people think that for the sake of the environment, everyone should reduce their driving.
6. Under the present planning system local authorities and communities are effectively dictated to by central government over the (quantity of) housing provision they are required to make via Local Plans. Not only this but those that refuse to plan for the central government numbers are threatened with even higher numbers being imposed.
7. see also 'Towards a more democratic and climate friendly way of meeting housing need across England' (draft)


Stefan Haselwimmer Sun 23 Feb 2020

What I would like to see is XR gently stepping back from "owning" the story. Even the comment above feels like it's XR telling everyone else how to do it. [I speak as someone who has quite publicly criticised XR]

Why not submit to an open-source repository and approach - a shared climate space - that is not owned by any one group? Then XR and other groups can find common cause as collaborators. Ditch the logo for such a project, reach out to others, find common cause. Embrace the collaboration, not as an "add on" but as a crucial/integral part of a new listening approach that is not owned by XR.

Whereas what we have seen directly is people be reluctant to join other things because "XR is the one true path". And that's not helpful when it comes to moving beyond protesting. The more one tries to say "are you part of 'my' group?", the more one is forced to make a decision.

Whereas surely we should be adopting a unifying vision where you don't need to make that decision? I want to do something on climate - here's the shared space to get stuck in.

The climate challenge is everyone's problem and strong brands/methods - while crucial for reaching out to certain constituencies - too often alienate other constituencies.


Oli SB Sun 23 Feb 2020

Thanks for kicking off this open response - it seems important to discuss.

imho we need to move beyond the story (whoever "owns" or tells it - we all know we need a zero carbon ecoonomy) to "co-creating solutions". There is no more time to waste. So that means building a new zero carbon economy, from the ground up... and that means thinking about money - and the way that it is created and used ... and the best ways to enable decentralized collaboration at scale, in small but federated groups ... These are some of the key themes we will be working on at the OPEN 2020 event in London in June this year, which focuses on "co-creating the new economy".