Back in November 2022, I was scanning the COP27 Report, known as the Sharm-el-Sheikh Implementation Plan looking for signals of change.
In futures thinking and foresight practice, we look for these signals as specific events with the potential to make impact.
Now, whatever its flaws as an agreement, there smack bang on the front page of the plan, was the single, startling use of the words, “Mother Earth”.
“Noting the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including in forests, the ocean and the cryosphere, and the protection of biodiversity, recognized by some cultures as Mother Earth, and also noting the importance of ‘climate justice’, when taking action to address climate change…”
It was breath-taking.
These two words in an official global document signed by UN Member States. Written in ink, published, not to be erased: a tiny signal of change starting to transmit.
Then, in December 2022, geeking out again scanning the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and there those words were again.
This time, they appear eight times. In the K-MGBF, they appear in the very first paragraph:
“1. Biodiversity is fundamental to human well-being and a healthy planet, and economic prosperity for all people. including for living well in balance and in harmony with Mother Earth, we depend on it for food, medicine, energy, clean air and water, security from natural disasters as well as recreation and cultural inspiration, and it supports all systems of life on earth.”
And they appear in targets 16 and 19, where they grew into another phrase, “Mother Earth Centric Actions” with a footnote explaining:
“Mother Earth Centric Actions: Ecocentric and rights-based approach enabling the implementation of actions towards harmonic and complementary relationships between peoples and nature, promoting the continuity of all living beings and their communities and ensuring the non-commodification of environmental functions of Mother Earth.”
It’s like someone walked past and threw the dial up to 11.
Watching the journey of these words, which are not new at all, and yet somehow in these official spaces are curiously awkward and tenderly young, is utterly compelling.
For me, seeing these words felt deeply profound. As a woman, they feel deliciously subversive, even revolutionary because they bring back the power of the feminine to the centre of our way forward. The use of them feels like an honouring of all the women who are not seen and not heard globally. Even more so perhaps, they serve as call to action to all of us to recognise the feminine energy within, regardless of gender, as the source of our deepest creativity.
Interpreting these words as signals brings a thrilling sensation of doing-things-differently, the very essence of innovation.
Because from signals come forecasts of possible, plausible futures. From forecasts, come scenarios as stories of where problems, unmet needs, longings and dreams are revealed. All of this story-telling does something more fundamental. It cultivates the conditions that we need to do Mother Earth Centric Innovation, to enable us to ‘story-into-being’ the solutions of value that bring the economics of flourishing described by Marianna Mazzucato, Kate Raworth and Julia Steinberger in their works.
What does doing Mother Earth Centric Innovation mean to you?
What does it mean about you?
How would choosing to do it now in your community of change define 2034?
I'll leave you with those questions. Check out the Mother Earth Centric Innovation class and sign up.
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