Community Service Organisations in the One Planet World

Like the rest of humanity, Community Service Organisations are in transition, whether we, or they, realise it or not; the tranistion to a future decided by the One Planet Equation and the One Planet World Gaia creates for us from balancing it.

This analysis is based on Rotary International, with which I have an association and whose creed is ‘Service Above Self’. It is part of an article about ‘Learning to Lead in the OPW’ aimed at its junior sections, Interact and Rotaract.


The complete article can be downloaded here Interact & Rotaract – Learning to lead for the One Planet World

Interact & Rotaract – learning to lead for the One Planet World

Derek Deighton 23 December 2009

Rotary in Transition

As we enter the second decade of the third Millennium it is clear that Rotary International faces, like the rest of humanity a period of transition, of opportunities and threats. A future that can be seen as a challenging adventure or an impossible challenge; the choice is ours.

To face this adventurous challenge we must rethink our role as an organisation, as individual clubs and as individuals.

Asking, bravely, the question –

“What are we here for in the 3rd Millennium?”

To which the answer can only be –

“We are here to liberate the creativity and leadership that will help societies transition successfully to the coming One Planet World.”

An important part of this is how we attract and enable the learning of future leaders in Interact and Rotaract. Clearly the most pressing issue facing Rotary if we are to move forward and be an effective force in the One Planet World, see the appendix.

As a starting point we must acknowledge that Rotary is still fixed in the paradigm of economic growth based on exponential use of resources; where many will continue to be wealthy enough to help those who are not so fortunate.

In the One Planet World, where Gaia will decide major issues like population and resource availability, this is no longer a viable strategic model for Rotary. We must work with Gaia to create the best possible world, where humans are integrated into its cycles.

A Blip on Geological History

It is becoming increasingly clear that the past 200 years have been a blip on geological history where we have consumed at least half of recoverable resources and at the present rate of use many, particularly oil will not last more than 30 years. This is the backdrop to our, and Rotary International’s immediate future.

Learning to Lead

Rotary has a proud history of enabling the learning and application of leadership, not only in its main body but also within Interact and Rotaract, but this has been for the current paradigm

This has also been against a backdrop of a powerful psychological force that said ‘we can self-actualize without worrying about the future – an act of self -deception of epic proportions.

We are now suffering from what Alvin Toffler called ‘Future Shock’, a state of confusion that arises when the past offers little guidance to dealing with the present and the future. This has enormous implications for Rotary but this article is concentrating on Interact and Rotaract.

Learning to Lead for the OPW

The Appendix explains the implications of the One Planet World, but summarized

We can say that in the One Planet World

◦       Energy, water and other resources will be constrained

◦       Human resources will be plentiful

◦       In a resource constrained environment, goods and services can only grow at the rate at which their resource intensity can be reduced beyond balancing the One Planet Equation’

All at Sea

To use a nautical metaphor, we are floating in a sea at the peril of the wind, tide and current, without a chart or a serviceable compass. The young are particularly feeling the effects of this, uncertain of their immediate and long-term futures.

What does this mean for Rotary?

Firstly, it means finding and charting our current position, but even now we can say certain things about the OPW, see appendix. From this we can say what businesses will be part of it.

Tomorrow’s businesses must

◦       Satisfy emotional and spiritual need rather than gratuitous wants

◦       Satisfy essential needs in the lower orders of Maslow’s Pyramid

◦       Employ people rather than energy

◦       Create or use renewable energy and other resources

◦       Minimise water use or create the technologies that do

◦       Create and deploy climate stabilising and mitigation technologies

◦       Be increasingly local

◦       Provide a service rather than a product

◦       Practice lifecycle stewardship of their resources

◦       Manage value rather than cost

◦       Be able to operate at continually reducing resource intensity

Rotary must prepare itself and society for these organisations and the opportunities they will provide; we must be in the vanguard, not just dealing with the fallout the future reality will doubtless produce.

Instantaneous Adaptability

Leading in the One Planet World requires us to be almost instantaneously adaptable as individuals, with the vision and skills to create the same adaptability within the organizations we serve.

The resources available to us will be reducing over time and we must marshal them to continually increase the supply of goods and services that meet the essential physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our society.

Tomorrow’s leaders must have the skills and ability to liberate the creativity and ingenuity in their people and other stakeholders that will enable and drive change.

Interim Conclusion

These thoughts are part of a process developed from using the One Planet Equation Mind Model, which is a conceptual model of under-standing, that once created, gives us the power to extract more information from it, than went into creating it.

From it we can say

◦       Energy, water and other resources will be constrained

◦       Human resources will be plentiful

◦       That we are addicted to the hugely ineffective use of energy and other resources

◦       That the current discourse centred on the ’symptoms’ our addiction causes – climate change, environmental, social and economic failures, is failing to motivate change.

◦       That human beings are, and have been, creative, ingenious and enterprising since the dawn of our species.

◦       That ’our’ future is ‘our’ problem – that the Earth will most probably manage very well without us.

Rotary cannot from the above analysis expect anymore, its members or its youth to find a way to the One Planet World on their own. We must chart a way forward for ourselves and society.

◦       Interact and Rotaract and must be part of the educational system, delivering its implicit outcomes, not targets.

◦       They must also deliver the unstated need of society – service above self and the leadership it requires.

◦       They must liberate the creativity needed to help create the One Planet World.

◦       Critically, members must know their membership is leading to positive life chances for themselves – the ‘feel good’ and ‘fun’ factors are no longer sufficient reasons for belonging to the Rotary Family.

So in the interim, what can we say?

◦       Rotary can and should be proud of its history but recognise that this is not a complete guide to helping create the OPW.

◦       We should transform Interact and Rotaract Clubs into explicit ‘learning’ and service organisations.

◦       Rotarians should endeavour to provide ‘internships’ to Interact and Rotaract members in their organisations on whatever basis can be arranged.

◦       Rotary should create a body of knowledge and recognised achievement awards that can be achieved by all for Continuing Professional Development.

◦       Create ‘virtual clubs’ for other service organisations – so that Scouts, Air Cadets etc. can achieve CPD awards and their own Rotary Badge whilst developing their own specialist areas.

◦       Local, District and Regional equivalents of Ambassadorial, GSE and Peace work can be established

◦       Clubs should move away from the elitist sounding ‘Presidents Balls’ to ‘Rotary Achievement’ nights; where all CPD achievements are recognised, Interact, Rotaract and Rotarian alike.

Once set on this course of learning to help create the One Planet World, Rotary will be able to devise many more appropriate strategies on this theme for its own development and the development of its members.

A need and opportunity exists for Rotary to take big strides into the futures.

It is a challenging opportunity for sure, but then Rotary International has never shirked a challenge or Service above Self.


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