“Green Symbols and Myth Making in the Sustainability Age” – GreenSource Knowledge Paper #7 – based on the Event Circle Interviews by Willi Paul


Green Symbols and Myth Making in the Sustainability Age
Please see my initial thoughts and Illustration.

Introduction:

Sustainability is our consciousness changing, global healing design that started with the land conservation movement of John Muir, the Boy Scout Ecology badge and continues today with Al Gore’s gut shocking “An Incontinent Truth.” To understand environmental or social sustainability, you need to read the stories of the tree sitters and the signs of protest held high by your soccer Moms. Many of these struggles for saner land development and a toxic-free neighborhood are based on new green universal visions that are transmitted and cultivated by one culture and then transmitted world-wide via the Internet.

The mythology of sustainability, unlike other mythic systems, has an electronic, mediated backbone. Not in My Backyard (NIMB) is now Not on My Earth (NOME) – on YouTube.com. Sustainability is fueling a shift in global consciousness and demanding a new set of fears and songs and stories that could be just what the electro-shaman ordered. Indeed, the practice of sustainability could be seen as quasi-religious to many. Why? Because so many have ditched their birth rite religions and have nothing else to substitute for the Sunday mass. Or because protecting Mother Nature is now a priority of grand proportion and we struggle to blend and create a hybrid of Wicca and Quakerism to fuel a new set of global spiritual rites of initiations, traditions and holy passage.

Exploration Points:

  • One’s product choices become important representations of sustainability rather than adherence to an ill defined aesthetic green symbology. Dr. Bronner’s is the new old green
  • ‘water memorizing’ for recalling our memories, ‘water purifying’ in relation with the present water condition , ‘water rejuvenating’ for the future
  • Most of environmental artists look as if they are spinning a ‘thread of time’ toward an ecologically sustainable future
  • Seek a new found appreciation for painting and connections to visionary kin
  • One could extrapolate symbols and mythology from much of my art, so feel free to play this game as you gaze through each active portal of imagination
  • We need to step out of the mass consumption paradigm of useless junk, into a new holistic one that is more sustainable for all life.; find an evolving consciousness
  • Build shared resources, cooperative decision-making and participatory self-governance, ecological sustainability, local food self-reliance, and a local economy
  • Quoting the Symposium: “Environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice, rather than being separate issues, are actually three interrelated facets of one profoundly interconnected whole”
  • Staying present with the gifts I’m crafting and the conversations that I’m nurturing. I hope that, through this process, my ideas and information can serve humanity
  • We have the power to change our reality if we first have a dream, or vision or even intention
  • The ancient sources will be synthesized with new insights; biomimcry is a great example
  • A myth is a vehicle for communicating an idea without any regard to its historicity, plausibility, predictability, or factual truth; David & Goliath, King Arthur, the Big Bang, and the Industrial Revolution are all mythological because they are all stories that address the purpose and meaning of human life
  • I like to be inspired by stories, but not confined by them
  • Whenever there is an agenda by one group of people, the writings or stories of another group will be referred to as myth
  • I think our main symbol is our brand and the five claw marks. It truly means that we can all do our bit for the environment and leave a more natural legacy behind us

GreenSource Knowledge Paper #7 – Source Material from Event Circle Interviews:

There isn’t really an easy answer to this question. Sure, green is the color of the movement, but as it has come closer to ubiquity, green means less and less as it has been co-opted for marketing and ‘greenwashing’. There are plenty of symbols, from tree and leaves to globes, that readily signify sustainability, but there doesn’t seem to be a rule about it. Most of this imagery is marketing/branding driven. Consumers are sophisticated enough to recognize the branding style associated with green products. With sustainable lifestyle choices beyond marketing, for authentic lifestyle behavior, there are all sorts of coded actions, products, activities and language that signify differentiation. Just thinking about this idea as it relates to my life, I wonder about my own choices. Do I drive a Volkswagen diesel as a signifier of my green status or have a selected this vehicle because it allows me to run it on bio (plus it’s fun to drive)? Actually, I think for most of us green-minded people, we make these product and lifestyle decisions out of an authentic desire to make good choices and when enough green conscious people arrive at similar conclusions, choices become a trend which becomes a signifier. I have to admit that I feel troubled when I visit a friend’s house and I notice that they have bottled water, the food isn’t locally sourced, or the toilet paper isn’t recycled. It seems to me that consumer purchases are strong indicators of individual commitment to sustainable living, so it makes perfect sense to me that one’s product choices become important representations of sustainability rather than adherence to an ill defined aesthetic green symbology. Dr. Bronner’s is the new old green.

Tim Gaudreau Interview

I have been trying to recall our memories of places through water which has been circulating all over the earth, and at the same time, I have tried to draw our attention to the fact that our body has been also letting in and out water for so many generations. Hoping to close up the story of ecology originating from deep relations between human life and surrounding environment, I start to search for ‘inherency and commonality’ hidden in places and plan about how to unite ‘past-present-future’. We must notice that what’s called ‘water’ is an assembly of various water flows; that is, ‘water memorizing’ for recalling our memories, ‘water purifying’ in relation with the present water condition , ‘water rejuvenating’ for the future etc. Most of environmental artists look as if they are spinning a ‘thread of time’ toward an ecologically sustainable future.

Interview with Ichi Ikeda

I don’t know if I’m creating ‘new’ symbols, or fresh icons, never mapped before. I do feel that I’m part of an evolving consciousness that is unfolding and showing itself through certain archetypes in visual and sonic media. Though to say they have never been mapped before could be an overstatement. I think the media and tools we are using now, are offering a new type of reflection of an energy that has always been present and manifest throughout human history.

The symbols we are playing with now seem to play a role in connecting those people whose paths fit in a certain way for the benefit of our own unfolding, while sharing this story with those who partake in the interaction of viewing. I suppose one piece I could reference with obvious symbols, would be one I did back in the fall of 2004, during the first year of my new found appreciation for painting, and connections to my visionary kin. This is the painting Synergenesis. It was created then from the inspiration of an event taking place in San Francisco called “Synergenesis”, which was aimed at connecting visionary artists and interested viewers, in the exploration of uncovering a world not yet fully manifest, though showing itself through this type of art and media. I couldn’t make it to the event, so I stayed home and tapped into that energy and created this piece which has reference to many different symbols, including ones from my dreams, and even representing styles of other artists merging as one. Instead of explaining more, I’ll let each viewer muse on what they find symbolic to them. Another piece which comes to mind, is My Awakening. This was the second painting I ever made of this type, in the winter of 2004. I was recently reminded of it, because of a near death experience story I just read, in which the person describes their experience in close detail related to a cosmic transfiguration I experienced, that lead to the expression of this painting.

Specifically the high frequency energy, the tunnel with a bright light at the end, a universal grid matrix that connects all life, and eyes as portals into other worlds or dimensions. There was even further detail that was similar, but too much to go into here. The point being that, including people who have done ayahuasca, this piece reflects a real place where others have been, that came out as symbols they can identify with. You can also see some swirling swastikas representative of that endless flowing energy that is identified as a timeless symbol used throughout human history in a positive connotation. (minus the Nazis). I suppose you could extrapolate symbols and mythology from much of my art, so feel free to play this game as you gaze through each active portal of imagination.

I feel that in my many ways I am helping build this mythology or whatever you want to call it. In the past year I focused much on creating tree and forest imagery that was a bridge between the high frequency ethereal energies of past paintings, mixed with a strong connection to Earth or Gaian groundedness. This is part of my own process in reconnecting to the earth, while sharing it so others can see as well. I use 100% recycled PCP paper for my small prints, and try to take other steps in creating art, and a lifestyle that are more harmonious with the earth and her shared inhabitants. This includes eating as much local and organic produce as I can, and in general stepping out of the mass consumption paradigm of useless junk, into a new holistic one that is more sustainable for all life. I do this because it resonates with an evolving consciousness that I feel to be a part of.

Interview with Simon Haiduk

Perhaps all the activists in the intentional communities movement — and this includes ecovillage activists and cohousing activists — are creating a new myth, or perhaps a new culture, in which shared resources, cooperative decision-making and participatory self-governance, ecological sustainability, local food self-reliance, and a local economy are the norm. I’d want to live in a world like this!

Interview with Diana Leafe Christian

We are changing our dream by asking ourselves, what kind of unexamined assumptions have been leading us into such dreaded unintended consequences? How is it that we have accepted so much pain and suffering as a means to an end? For example, as a kid, when we would pull into a gas station, and the smell of pumping gas would make me sick, it never occurred to me that that was unacceptable, to poison ourselves, because the end game was the car, which would take us where we wanted to go. Nausea and vomiting were just an unfortunate down side. Burning petroleum, and creating smog so bad that our eyes and lungs burn and we have global smog alert days so bad that people were masks and the young and elderly are forced to stay inside, is madness. Yet, we’ve accepted this for ourselves – what can be done? Well, a lot can be done, and many of us are waking up to that. As I said earlier, we vote with our dollars. We are waking up to that. We are beginning to see we have been using the wrong operating manual, and we are changing that.

Thanks to the internet and the popularity of social networks, it is clear that we enjoy working with and trusting each other, globally, as we create the kind of world which respects, honors and supports life for all the children of all species – there are NO throw away species! This is a big shift away from the nightmare of fear and divisiveness our Western culture has been living, particularly for the last 200 years of the Industrial Revolution. Quoting the Symposium: “Environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice, rather than being separate issues, are actually three interrelated facets of one profoundly interconnected whole.”

Interview with Linda Delair

Perhaps, but not intentionally. I see myself as giving my offerings to the circle and encouraging others to do the same. I focus first on staying present with the gifts I’m crafting and the conversations that I’m nurturing. I hope that, through that process, my ideas and information can serve humanity in finding a path that highlights the beautiful caring intelligent creatures that we are, at heart.

This isn’t something I’ve really studied. I think that the green movement is as diverse as people are, and when the movement is successful in its task, eco-consciousness will just be integrated into our everyday lives, as it once was. So there will then be many ways that we speak — and illustrate — our connection to the earth. It’ll just become normal.

Interview with Patricia Dines

I do think a new mythology is being generated and that it is gaining momentum everyday through the largest unnamed movement the planet has ever seen. I think the more that this movement can recognize itself and come together, despite issue, sector, country, race, then people will increasingly gain hope and power. Very quickly we’ll see that we are in the majority and old power structures will be replaced. Then we can move beyond sustainability, which is about survival, to a vision where we and future generations thrive and grow into our true potential as human beings.

The biggest myth or belief that we’re using is that we have the power to change our personal and collective dream. This is an ancient technology that has been used by indigenous cultures for millennia. This is an empowering myth because it tells us that we are not passive recipients of the destructive dream that is being foisted upon us at every turn. It says that we have the power to change our reality if we first have a dream, or vision or even intention.

Interview with David Tucker

I think the way forward involves a certain amount of rediscovery of ancient and indigenous symbols and stories. Interestingly, much of what scientists are discovering about complex systems is reflected in the wisdom of ancient and indigenous cultures, particularly the profoundly interconnected nature of the world. Linda Booth-Sweeney has done a great job of collecting these stories in her book Connected Wisdom.

But these ancient sources will also be synthesized with new insights. Biomimcry is a great example of this. I think nature provides a lot of potent symbols to inform the way we design human communities. Borrowing from Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy, I think the new story is that it’s not about More, it’s about Better.

Interview with Matt Dubel

A myth is any story that explains any aspect of what it means to be human. A myth is a vehicle for communicating an idea without any regard to its historicity, plausibility, predictability, or factual truth. David & Goliath, King Arthur, the Big Bang, and the Industrial Revolution are all mythological because they are all stories that address the purpose and meaning of human life.

Personally, I find myself returning to the New Testament gospels in terms of a religious text. Through my studies I am steeped in scientific myth, which I find tremendously valuable, and for comic myth I find myself attracted to the South Park animated series these days.

Interview Two with Jacob Haqq-Misra

DIVINA:
To me, a myth is a story that has been told so many times that many, consciously or unconsciously, believe that it is real. I am working on being free of all myths and creating my reality independently of all past and all stories. I like to be inspired by stories, but not confined by them.

DOUGLAS:
Myth is a way to take real events and make them seems as if they never happened, that they are just stories. Is Atlantis a myth? If you study the work of Zecharia Sitchin, you’ll hear the idea that the so-called “myths” of Greece and Rome were actually reworkings of the stories of the Sumerians. I’m sure there are plenty of people today who would like to call the writings of the Sumerians “myths”. Some may think that the writings of modern newspapers are myths. Whenever there is an agenda by one group of people, the writings or stories of another group will be referred to as myth. I like to keep an open mind about all myths. There may be more truth to them than you think. I recommend reading the complete works of Sitchin as soon as possible. They are a fabulous reflection of the world we live in today.

Interview with Divina Klein and Douglas Mackar of La Forza

Greenwala is creating a community. We hope that the Greenwala community becomes the symbol for those wanting to either learn how to be green/greener or want to provide their knowledge to the community and share their expertise.

Interview with Rajeev Kapur

Hopefully, not myths, but an appreciation and recognition for those businesses and services who are going the extra mile to be socially and ecologically responsible for their customers. The mission of our company is to make it easier to shop, eat and live a greener life.

Interview with Gay Browne

This question reminds me of an old saying “Creativity is the art of taking a fresh look at old knowledge”. I am just being creative with the ancient tools of music and ceremony, to bring a positive experience for the “tribe”.

Interview with Chris Deckker

I think our main symbol is our brand and the five claw marks. It truly means that we can all do our bit for the environment and leave a more natural legacy behind us.

Interview with Hessia Fernandes

Let’ s hope so. We need them desperately. “Waste is food” needs to replace “throw it away”, “Live on solar income” needs to replace “drill baby, drill”!

Interview with Joe Laur

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About [ open myth source ]

The [open myth source] project gathers conversations, symbols, songs, visual art and stories. Building a house for Myth in the Sustainability Age.
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