Preface-- Anne You can ’ t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it. So we ’ re asking for help from kids in dealing with the state of our world. This is a story for kids about resiliency. We focus on biomimicry, since nature knows how to survive. Our hope and dream is that it goes viral as a Youtube, and that kids will create unimagined breakthroughs. We are sure they ’ ll see possibilities we don ’ t see yet.
SCENE 1: ship coming in 1. On an a branded “ ecotour ” touring the “ endangered ” Northern Mariana and Solomon Islands Benito, 16 - Euro kid whose parents are climate researchers working as eco tourguides for extra money- knows a lot about the theory, spouts facts and figures, but is narrowly focused on science and technology; thinks technology will save us. Lucy, 14 - American soccer kid; parents are a lawyer and a corp. exec; little family time- she ’ s lonely and has an eating disorder- she eats only Luna bars; thinks the solution to everything is to buy green products. Ai, 14 - Chinese kid; parents are missionaries; she ’ s the voice for spiritual values, family and community time; knows Gaia theory, talks about biomimicry; sees the costs of capitalist society; also a voice for population as an issue- China ’ s solution is far from perfect, but we have to do something Guafi, 12 - Chamorro boy; his island is going underwater as sea level rises; mom does housekeeping in the hotel, not protected by labor laws- guest worker problem; dad is away working to send money back to them; still carries the traditional values of his people: cooperation and generosity; and he ’ s a true systems thinker, without knowing the term. 2. They pull into port get on a bus to the hotel where they ’ ll take refuge. Ai says she ’ s hungry, so Lucy opens her backpack to reveal dozens of Luna bars. She shares them. Benito: Dude, why do you have all those Luna bars? You could live on those for a year. Lucy: I do. They ’ re all I eat. They ’ re really convenient, and they ’ re full of fiber and soy protein isolate. And they only have 180 calories! They get off at the hotel, find a room to hang out away from parents. (They are teenagers and tired of/annoyed by their parents.) Guafi shows up, and they invite him in. Benito, who carries an iPad, gets on-line within seconds.
3. Lucy: Why can ’ t they just schedule trips when there aren ’ t storms? Benito: fiddling w/ his iPad. You can ’ t tell if he ’ s looking things up or just playing video games. ‘ Cause there are more storms these days, and they can ’ t really predict them. Don ’ t you know about global climate change? Lucy: Well, some people think the earth is getting warmer. But what does that have to do with typhoons? Benito: Climate change is real, and it causes all kinds of problems, from droughts in Africa to more and bigger storms, to the polar ice caps melting and raising sea level. That ’ s the stuff we know about. Then there ’ s the stuff we don ’ t know about… the black swans, which are things you totally don ’ t expect to happen, that do. Guafi: Yeah, my island is disappearing into the ocean. Our resorts are starting to flood, and we might not be able to live here at all in a few years. My mom and I are really wondering where we ’ ll go. 4. Lucy: Really? If that ’ s true, why is it happening? Benito: People are doing stuff that puts too much carbon into the air. Then the atmosphere holds heat from the sun, and that changes the weather. The biggest source of carbon emissions is the energy we use to build and run buildings. That accounts for 48% of the carbon we put out. Then there ’ s transportation, which accounts for 34% of it. And farming is most of the rest of it. Lucy: Does that mean like every time my mom drives me to soccer practice we ’ re causing typhoons and flooding and droughts? Benito: Basically, yeah. Ai: Why don ’ t we just stop? 5. Benito: It ’ s complicated. A lot of it is because of corporations. Oil companies tell the government not to spend money for solar and wind power. Monsanto tells farmers they ’ ll get more crops if they use their bug sprays. And most big companies think it ’ s too expensive to find ways to use their energy efficiently. But, none of that is really true. My parents have this friend named Hunter Lovins. She ’ s really brilliant, and she always wears a cowboy hat, and she goes around showing companies how they can save tons money by using less energy. Ai: But I still don ’ t understand why the companies can ’ t stop making so much stuff? Don ’ t we have more stuff than we need? 6. Benito: Some people think so. Some people think it ’ s a mistake to keep growing our economy. They think we should stop measuring how much money is flowing, and pay attention to whether people are happy, and have what they need to live. Some people are really getting screwed, while other people get richer and richer.* Guafi: Yeah, my mom works for this hotel. Some of these rooms are $300 a night, but my mom barely makes enough to feed us. Everything in that store you saw is brought in by boat from somewhere else – we can ’ t afford to shop there. My grandma keeps a big garden and that helps feed us, but I gotta skip school sometimes to work in the hotel laundry at the end of the month. Can I try a Luna Bar? Guafi takes a bite, and grimaces. Ai: It is pretty unfair. My mom and dad say American corporate executives make 531 times more than the average worker. It ’ s starting to get that way in China, too. My government won ’ t let us protest, but a lot of Chinese are talking about how the “ 1% ” have too much, just like in America. But what ’ s crazy is that it is worse in other parts of the world, too. The US uses up way more than its share of resources, cuz there are places that really have nothing! I ’ ve been to Africa with my parents, and lots places there don ’ t have enough money for the basics! There aren ’ t any roads or schools – just super poor and a few super rich people. My dad ’ s friend said that kind of situation creates terrorists and pirates. 7. Lucy: So what would make it fairer? If all those poor people got enough money to have cars and better houses? Benito: But that won ’ t work either. If everybody lived like people do in the US, we ’ d need 3-5 planets worth of resources. Ai: Yeah, the stuff that makes a “ better life ” doesn ’ t always do that. Look at my country. We ’ re becoming capitalist, and getting a lot of the problems they have in the US. Everybody works all the time so they can buy stuff, and people don ’ t have time to hang out with their families or do what they really like. Lucy: Yeah, the only time I see my mom is in the car. [It ’ s a nice car, with a TV in the back, but] I get sick of never being home. We have a big house, with a fancy dining room that seats 12, but I can ’ t remember the last time we ate a meal together. My dad is never home. And both my parents are always stressed out about the Visa bill. 8. Benito: And making all that stuff takes a lot out of the earth. It ’ s not just the carbon problem. It affects our groundwater and air, and even the oceans are polluted. Soil and water for farming are getting used up. And the number of humans is growing really fast. By the year 2050 there could be 9 billion people on the planet, and even the best scientists can ’ t answer how we ’ re going to feed us all. Ai: Tell me about it! My country was so worried about it that in 1978 they made this law that urban couples could only have 1 kid. It probably prevented like 400 million births, but it caused a lot of social problems. Couples get rid of baby girls because they want boys, and now there are too many men and not enough women, and it ’ s causing really big problems. And no one knows who is going to take care of all the old people – there are just so many of them! It ’ s a mess. 9. Lucy: Wow, it seems like everything is a mess. We ’ re trashing the earth and using up everything, and the poor people are getting really mad. There ’ s a big crack of thunder, and the lights go out. Lucy screams. Benito: Dude, my internet connection went out. 10. Guafi: Hang on, you guys. This happens all the time. We ’ ll be OK. Benito: Yeah, but I ’ m hungry. All I ate was a Luna bar, hours ago. Ai: Yeah, me, too. Lucy: Well what are we going to do? I didn ’ t see any stores around here. Guafi: Food doesn ’ t just come from a store. I ’ ll show you. Leads them outside, behind the hotel to a yard with chickens and scraggly plants. There ’ s still a bit of daylight left.
A Black Swan world: lots of low probability, high impact events happening, and many more possible at any time. Catastrophic climate change, including desertification of some areas, inundation of islands and shorelines, storms, earthquakes, and tsunamis. This is almost certainly due to human activities, and there are long delays between corrections we make and their results. We don’t know how long the delays are. We are or could be on the verge of running out of land to grow food, fish in the oceans, water, and oil. Human population is increasing faster than our ability to feed people, with no mechanism in place to control it by our own means. If we don’t do that, natural forces like disease and starvation and climate catastrophe may do it for us. Worldwide, demand for material goods, travel, and the luxuries we call “a high standard of living” is increasing; all of which increases the rate at which we use energy and deplete natural resources. Our governments and economic systems are based on continual growth, and a business framework (capitalism) that is set up to further enrich the wealthy (stockholders) at the expense of employees, consumers, society, inhabitants of other countries, and the earth. This system has led to rampant personal unhappiness even in wealthy nations, and widespread outrage over huge disparities in income and material consumption. War and terrorist acts are increasing. Innovation and increases in efficiency are happening, but no one knows how or if they can keep pace with increasing human population and demand, and decreasing resources. A problem that underlies all of the above is that there are so many variables and they change so quickly that we have no idea what our time frames are.
SCENE 3- roasted chicken 11. Guafi: See those plants over there with the big leaves? Those are taro plants. Grab a rock and dig up the roots. They ’ re really good when you roast them. Lucy: A rock! I can ’ t dig without a shovel. Benito and Ai grab rocks and start digging, eventually Lucy joins them. Guafi chases a chicken behind a bush, and you hear a squawk. He comes out with a dead chicken. Lucy: Gross! Guafi gathers some sticks and builds a little fire. Fade out, fade in. Somehow the chicken next appears plucked and on a spit over the fire. (Need a little willing suspension of disbelief here.) The kids have banana leaf plates, and they dig roasted taro roots out of the hot coals. Guafi tears off hunks of chicken and puts it on their plates. He serves himself last.
SCENE 4- Dinner 12. Lucy: Wow, this is good. I can ’ t believe I ’ m eating this. Benito: Dude! Roasted chicken! Ai: Mmm. Guafi: This is how my people did it for a long time, before they built cities and hotels here. We fished and kept chickens and had gardens and worked together and shared everything. It worked out great, and my great -grandma says people were really happy then. Ai: Yeah, the old days were better in lots of ways, but we can ’ t go back in time. It ’ s too late; there are too many problems now which won ’ t go away…
Scene 5- ipad 13. The lights come back on. Benito ’ s iPad lights up. Benito: There ’ s something called resiliency. Let ’ s look it up. Let ’ s see… aspects of a resilient world: It ’ s diverse, in species and landscape, socially and economically. It ’ s variable. It ’ s modular. It understands that there are big delays between what we do and the results. It has feedback, so we know before we run out of resources. It embraces change, and lets people experiment and learn. It takes care of the air and the water and makes sure there are plenty of trees to use up CO2. Lucy: OK, cool, but what does that look like? 14. Ai: My parents talk about this thing called biomimicry. They say nature knows how to create conditions for life; we can ask nature for the answers. There ’ s even a website called asknature.org. Benito: Here it is. Wow, awesome stuff. It says we can make little solar collectors and put them all over the place, to catch sunlight the way leaves do. And here, you can move water inside a building the way plants do. It ’ s called capillary action. And you can make better wind turbines by putting bumps on them to lower the resistance. They found that out by looking at whales ’ fins. And you can keep carbon out of the air by turning it into plastic or cement. Did you know coral reefs are made out of carbon? Lucy: Wow! That ’ s really cool! I never heard about any of this on Earth Day. I mean, my family recycles and everything, but I never knew that sustainability had all this sci-fi coolness to it! Ai: Yeah. I want to start a club to study this when I get home. Can you send us the links to what you found for resiliency and biomimicry, Benito? Benito: Sure.
15. Benito ’ s email (put in email format) Resiliency When talking about humans, resiliency is the ability to cope with, adapt to, and overcome challenges. When talking about the systems of the earth, resiliency is the capacity of a system to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of unforeseen changes, even catastrophic incidents. For both humans and earth together, resiliency is being innovative and flexible, taking account of the many variables in a black swan world and being as prepared as we can for whatever might happen.
Rules of resilience (slide lists bold – we speak italics) 1. It learns from nature. This is the most important thing about resiliency. It ’ s the way the world has actually has survived for billions of years. 2. It ’ s diverse. A resilient world depends on diversity--ecological, social, and economic. 3. It is variable. A resilient world works with variability instead of trying to control it . 4. It is modular and decentralized. A resilient world consists of modular components that can stand on their own. It makes the whole system less vulnerable to any problem. 5. It has tight feedbacks. It pays attention to feedback, letting us detect thresholds before we cross them. 6. It understands systems delays and plans accordingly 7. It fosters social capital . It promotes trust, social networks, and servant leadership. 8. It is innovative. A resilient world makes room for experimentation, local decision-making, and change. 9. All aspects of the system are valued. In a healthy ecosystem there is no such thing as externalities.
Rules of Biomimicry Spoken: Biomimicry is about using ideas from nature to solve human problems. People in this field believe that since nature has the experience of centuries and has ingenious and efficient solutions to problems, we should study nature. Here are some things Nature really knows how to do: 1. Create food. 2. Harness energy. 3. Create the tools it needs. 4. Heal itself. 5. Store what it learns. 6. Get things done efficiently. (Like using capillary action to move water in buildings is an example. It ’ s how plants move water.) 7. Have closed systems, with no waste. Waste from one life form is the building block for another. (Using CO2 to make cement or plastics is an example of that.) 8. Gain an advantage from shape. Example: mimicking the bumps on whale fins to reduce drag on wind turbines 9. Do things in modules. (Example: having tiny, inexpensive solar collectors everywhere, as leaves do.)
SCENE 6- Ship leaving 18. Lucy: Whoah, biomimicry and resiliency are awesome! Instead of being all “ You can ’ t do this, you can ’ t do that ” and making us feel bad for driving cars, this stuff actually says what you can do to make the planet work better. Nature has been learning for billions of years. It knows how to support living things. We ’ ve created an environment that ’ s really bad for humans. Ai: Yeah, at first we were hostile to “ other ” forms of life - trying to tame all the other systems to serve us – but now we ’ re even hostile to ourselves. We ’ ve been pooping in our own fish bowl! Lucy and Ai: Ew. 19. Lucy: So it sounds like we could change to be more like the earth is, to support things in living and thriving again. We can ’ t treat the stuff on the planet like it is something we can pick up and use and then throw away. There is no “ away ” – everything we use stays part of the planet, even after we ’ re done with it. Ai: Right, it ’ s another way of thinking, isn ’ t it? Benito: Just like your whole body is a system and you can ’ t remove one part or damage it without it affecting everything else, this planet is a system. The air is connected to the water is connected to animals is connected to mountains is connected to my pain-in-the butt little brother. Lucy: So what are we going to do now? Ai: We ’ re gonna figure out how to use those rules Benito just sent us to save the Earth. We ’ re going to live in the system that nature figured out AND we ’ re gonna know what to do when those black swan things happen. It ’ s going to be awesome! Lucy: What about when we grow up and have jobs? Will we be able to use resiliency and biomimicry in a company? Benito said the big corporations have ignored nature ’ s rules. Benito: Oh yeah. My parents ’ friend Hunter is really into that – showing companies how to succeed. I ’ ll send you the link to her book “ Natural Capital ” too. People are working inside companies to change how they do things– you can too! Kid 4: Yeah, let ’ s start doing all this now and maybe by the time we are adults we ’ ll have a better planet for everyone and everything. 20. The bus pulls into the harbor, and there ’ s their ship. They hug Guafi and exchange e-mail addresses. He says he can get on line at the hotel sometimes. They thank him for the meal. Lucy: “ Way better than Luna bars ”
Resiliency - a story board
A Story of Resiliency <ul><li>by </li></ul><ul><li>emily erickson, hilary wilson, & anne herman </li></ul>
Scene 1 A huge typhoon brings an eco tour cruise to shore in Saipan and four kids from diverse backgrounds meet at a hotel where they are waiting it out. They talk about the storm, and why it’s happening. Their different nationalities and backgrounds lend different viewpoints about climate change and the human factors which contributed to the current situation.
Scene 2 One kid’s iPad is a source for some sobering statistics about carbon and climate as well as wealth disparity and population growth. The four continue to discuss the current factors of society that contribute to global disparities and lack of resiliency in the face of a changing planet. They are starting to see the systems behind each individual problem –intuiting links, feedbacks and unintended consequences.
Current Situation <ul><li>A Black Swan world </li></ul><ul><li>Catastrophic climate change due to human activities </li></ul><ul><li>Delays between corrections we make and their results </li></ul><ul><li>Running out : arable land, viable ocean, drinkable water, oil </li></ul><ul><li>Human population is increasing faster than food production </li></ul><ul><li>Governments and economic systems based on continual growth </li></ul><ul><li>Demand for material goods / services increasing </li></ul><ul><li>Huge disparities in income and material consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation and increases in efficiency happening, can they keep pace ? </li></ul><ul><li>Underlying problem: unknown variables </li></ul>
Scene 3 The power at the hotel goes out, the i-Pad dies, and the European, Chinese and American kids are hungry and a bit freaked out. The local kid, an islander, takes the other three outside. They dig up taro and process it, and help to kill, dress and roast a chicken.
Scene 4 The other three kids have never experienced food not from a store or produced for people to buy. Their theoretical discussion from earlier becomes quite literal to them through the consumption of this meal.
Scene 5 The lights come back on, the storm is winding down. They return inside the hotel and look up resiliency and biomimicry on the iPad. An email is sent to them about it, and each kid is excited to share his/her new knowledge with their peers upon returning home.
Rules of Resiliency <ul><li>It learns from nature. </li></ul><ul><li>It is diverse. </li></ul><ul><li>It is variable. </li></ul><ul><li>It is modular and decentralized. </li></ul><ul><li>It has tight feedbacks. </li></ul><ul><li>It understands systems delays. </li></ul><ul><li>It fosters social capital. </li></ul><ul><li>It is innovative. </li></ul><ul><li>All aspects of the system are valued. </li></ul>
Rules of Biomiciry <ul><li>Create food. </li></ul><ul><li>Harness energy. </li></ul><ul><li>Create the tools it needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Heal itself. </li></ul><ul><li>Store what it learns. </li></ul><ul><li>Get things done efficiently. </li></ul><ul><li>Have closed systems, with no waste. Waste from one life form is the building block for another. </li></ul><ul><li>Gain an advantage from shape. </li></ul><ul><li>Do things in modules. </li></ul>
Epilogue The storm is over, the boat departs and the kids return to their respective homes with a strong understanding of resiliency and how they personally will be implementing these values in their future lives.