Synthesizing Vision through Poetry

Metanarrative

Over 40 stakeholders in impact investment and philanthropy met last week in the leafy green of Race Brook in the Berkshires, two hours west of Boston. It was organized by Financing Transformations Working Group Stewards Heather Grady and Laurie Lane-Zucker. Philanthropy Transforming Finance: Building an Impact Economy participants wrote about their vision and purpose in advance. Laurie transformed these into a poem that was recited at the beginning and end of the meeting, and elicited deep connection. Take a moment to breath in; take a moment to connect; take a moment to live into the visions.

I want to tell what the forests/were like/I will have to speak/in a forgotten language. — Witness by W.S. Merwin, Former U.S. Poet Laureate

Witnesses at Race Brook

finally

I believe we have come

to the end of the story

the story of ever increasing prosperity

through undifferentiated growth

because

there are physical

boundaries

to exponential growth

as well as social limits to

injustice

 

an ideal economic system is one

that maximizes wellbeing

a system encouraging

asset sharing and

conservation of common goods

a system that values real wealth in the form of

tangible natural and social capital

that creates opportunity for all

especially those most oppressed or

abandoned

where small and growing business entrepreneurs

in emerging markets

have access to financial resources

 

this new system is a

complex dynamic

much like an ecosystem

 embedded in natural environments

governed by biophysical laws

and deeply influenced

by human history

cultures

values

and behavior

one that fully internalizes

social and environmental externalities

that enables nature

communities and people

to thrive

where monetary and bank lending systems are

accountable for their long-term impact to

biodiversity

communities

and people

 

this is an enterprise for

a livable planet

operating within planetary thresholds

and meeting the

Sustainable Development Goals

with local consumers

supporting local business owners

and feeling the direct impact

of their consumption choices

 

we seek a durable and

shareable prosperity

stakeholders in decision-making

purpose-driven businesses

true cost capitalism

holistic stewardship

employees and consumers choosing

purpose driven firms and brands

biodiversity conservation

carbon storage in land and sea

ecosystem regeneration where the economic and

financial system aligns perfectly with

the requirements of sustainable

development

where there are no

marked income and

wealth disparities

and reparations for

colonization

slavery

exploitation and

oppression

are paid

 

we need a new narrative

new intellectual frameworks

around wealth accumulation

 

and the plumbing needs to be built

less extractive

designing out waste

injecting philanthropic dollars at catalytic junctures

where ownership models are localized

where we start with the needs of

end users

and design systems that suit

those needs

where Philanthropy

and public actors

catalyze and guide

private investment into key areas

more capital

more capital

 

more capital

to the underrepresented

to entrepreneurs seeking investment opportunities

in every place

along issue lines

 

private entities should be

taxed

or rewarded

based on

their denigration

or material improvement of

Tier 1 assets

 

circular

 

where we build

a shared and durable

prosperity for all

fairly allocated

just

resilient

distributive

because remember

let it not be forgotten

that our

“problems”

are really symptoms

of systems design

designed to deliver

precisely the outcomes

we are experiencing

 

we need

a triple bottom line

brain chemistry

where sustainability and well-being

are outcomes of the

regenerative process

where right relationship

holistic wealth

vitality

are aligned to

intrinsic systemic health

 

a mission-based economy

a wellbeing economy

a resilient economy

relentlessly pursued

 

We need women and minorities

to redesign the paradigm

so that negative externalities

are internalized

sustainably

ethically and fairly

along a blockchain of trust

these are the principles

of ethical biomimicry finance

with incentives guiding investment

across ESG factors

where a series of regional economies

each producing locally

the majority of products consumed locally

supporting people and societies

to realize their highest

aspirations and greatest potentials

 

wellbeing

empathy

ecological ceilings and social foundations

social ceilings and ecological foundations

across scales from local to bioregional

and networked in fractal patterns

to ultimately a global scale

 

this is

The Regenerative Universe

 

one that acknowledges

reciprocity

whole planet systems thinking

inspired by the world’s wisdom traditions

western

eastern

indigenous

 

remember now

this forgotten language

 

this language

is

our new source code

for life

 

remember

there are

no externalities

on

planet

earth

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