Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Free Speech, Sustainability, and the pursuit of happiness. Can EVOKE flourish?

Edward Hale:

…And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Evoke Rule #1. I tackle social problems… big problems that affect society as a wh***, and not just individuals—problems like hunger, poverty, climate change and disease. Solving a social problem means making life better for an entire community.

Rule #2. Innovation…bringing something new and better into existence. Something…more just.

Rule #3. To EVOKE, you must share your best ideas and take action to make your solutions real.

Rule #4. To EVOKE, you must learn about the unique challenges of communities all over the developing [and, I would say, the entire] world, and create solutions that work locally; to solve problems with a local community, and not for the community.

The World Bank publication Agribusiness and Innovation Systems in Africa (AIS)…”emphasizes that the ability to innovate relates also to collective, joint action to enhance knowledge flows, and collaboration between the different actors of the system.” (Riikka Rajalahti, Senior Agricultural Specialist, World Bank). http://wbi.worldbank.org/wbi/approaches/south-south-learning

While in EVOKE, we are learning skills to help us become Social Innovators. To help us “make our solutions real,” and change the world. During this arduous journey, many of our fellow Agents have posted blogs and comments asking for help, saying that they are losing focus, losing spark, whether from the pace of the challenges, and the weight of unanswered questions about individual goals, talents, and access—or from the complexity of issues surrounding learning about sustainability, communication, the exchange of ideas, methodologies for dealing with individuals and communities in the marketplace of EVOKE, and in the marketplace of ideas in the world at large.

If I could ask each of you “what do you hope to take from your time with EVOKE that will make your efforts worthwhile for you? What do you hope to learn, that will help you innovate, make and sustain positive changes to social challenges, today and in the future”—how would you respond? What would be your answer?

On May 12, Alchemy will ask each of you, each of us (for I am just an Agent, like all others) “Where will you make a difference…institution, community, virtual space”?

In a virtual world, as in the experiential world, people are sentient beings. Humans have evolved many forms of language: some precise, some vague, some polite, some bombastic, crude, hostile, even threatening. But, in conversation, in communication, in the exchange of ideas, people learn.

People can benefit from shared knowledge—whether the issues are global human security (food, water, environment, energy, economics) or issues of global human rights (sustainability, education, justice, religion/beliefs, freedoms, and the arguable “right to the pursuit of happiness”—the right to flourish within a sustainable system).

Today, April 7, 2010, Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer, held his first meeting (interviews are prohibited per a 2006 plea agreement with the Chinese Government) with media since disappearing over a year ago. Gao’s wife and two children secretly fled China early in 2009, to escape relentless police harassment. Gao said he has resurfaced in hopes of reuniting with his family.

Gao said that he doesn’t “have the capacity to persevere. On the one hand, it’s my past experiences. It’s also that these experiences greatly hurt my loved ones. This ultimate choice of mine, after a process of deep and careful thought …these are the three dearest people in the world and now, we’re like a kite with a broken string.”

Dauntlessly outspoken, Gao had staunchly advocated constitutional reform and human rights in authoritarian China for most of the past decade. Jailed, tortured, and spied upon by police until vanishing 14 months ago, Gao now hopes “to seek the goal of peace and calm.” While he hopes to hand his beacon of freedom’s watch to another, he hopes, more, for the chance to repair the “broken string” and find a secure life with his family. http://wtopnews.com/?nid=105&sid=1863551

Security, family, visions of a future which could be, of a present which is, of a past, which, perhaps, could have been better, or ought not to have been... In the developing world, in the developed world, people walk, talk, live their lives—and hope for a better future.

Do people everywhere know or advocate for zero-footprint, non-polluting, renewable energy; for organically produced, vertically-sacked, inter-planted, non-mono-cultured food? Do people everywhere long for charcoal/silver-nitrate filtered, or membrane/osmosis-filtered water supplies; for transparency, constitutional reforms, global human rights; do people long for sustainability?

Perhaps they do. Perhaps not. Perhaps, without the catch words and phrases, a thirst for change, for something better, strives for life, because of, or despite the education received--or the lack of education. Not everyone is armed and ready for battle; and, as with Gao Zhisheng, some warriors grow weary, sustain too many wounds to continue with their struggle to evoke change.

We here on EVOKE have a unique opportunity, a moment in time, a chance to work with our brethren in EVOKE, and with communities around the world (if the vision holds true), to step up and step in and find a real pathway to persevere, to build security, to attain sustainability. And, maybe, to pursue something more.

Part of the concept “the pursuit of happiness” steps beyond freedom, beyond the more-recently-named “global human rights,” returning to a past, and harkening to a future where values are more closely shared, where diversity is not a diminishment or a detriment, but a declaration. “The Pursuit of Happiness” presents a concept that we have not only the opportunity, the right, the responsibility to uphold and share our collective, shared knowledge, issues of global human security (again, food, water, environment, energy, economy), and global human rights (again, sustainability, education, religions/beliefs, freedoms…). We have also the opportunity, perhaps the right, perhaps the responsibility, to work with our families, our friends, our communities—with the communities we would serve, to see if we can not only sustain, but flourish.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall… It always seems impossible until it's done.”

Views: 44

Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on April 8, 2010 at 7:01am
"If I could ask each of you “what do you hope to take from your time with EVOKE that will make your efforts worthwhile for you? What do you hope to learn, that will help you innovate, make and sustain positive changes to social challenges, today and in the future”—how would you respond? What would be your answer?"

I suppose I'm looking here for what I'm looking for everywhere else: a community that will inspire and encourage me to do my best, console me and help me put things back into perspective when I fail - and most of all, one where I can feel I've made a meaningful contribution and helped to create something that will last and that I can feel proud of. Along the way I hope to make a few real friends to add to the wonderful bunch of people who are already a part of my life.

What I think I hoped to learn was more about how to help create that kind of community. What I think I am learning instead is perhaps just as important-- I'm learning about -- or trying to learn about-- the ever-perplexing problem of dissension, divisiveness, grand-standing, clique-forming, 'us against them' thinking, burn-out, a sense of hopelessness or helplessness, self-centeredness and all the other human failings that we're subject to-- both individually and in groups. I'm thinking about structures of all sorts-- the way the game is structured, the way communication is structured with in it, the way the game is run and by whom, the 'purpose' structure-- or lack of it...

I'm sure all this will be valuable when I have a chance to process it. For now, though, I'm feeling the need to take a break, reconnect with my real-life friends and regain some perspective. I hope to be back with renewed energy after I've given the child within me a chance to play, throw tantrums, tease the cat, or whatever it wants to do.
Comment by Michele Baron on April 14, 2010 at 4:07pm
Sara Shaw Tatoun, thank you for your comments. There is a vast amount of information, opinion, and energy to be processed on the Evoke site--and, added to the bustle and demands of daily life, can certainly spark the need to pause and breathe. I think that there is not so much "us against them" as there is a difference of phrasing, and differences of what are recognized as the "root" problems which caused each of us to join Evoke in the first place.
But we share a common path--the 10 missions, a common goal--social innovations, and a common opportunity to cross the divides of culture, interest, position, ability, access--and build bridges of understanding, tolerance and collaborative answers to the failings we recognize within the infrastructures, intraconnections, and interactions between human beings at large, and the human agents within the network of Evoke.
I hope you have a nice respite with friends, inner child, and cat... and happy spring! Thank you for your comment. good Evoking.
Comment by A.V.Koshy on April 15, 2010 at 12:23am
whoa, michelle - i'm left speechless....


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