Interview by just4theplanet.com
j4tp: First – Willi can you tell us a little about your background:
wp: I am a Green Business Certified Sustainability Consultant and strategic client relations designer for environmental and greentech start-ups and sustainability non-profits. One of my roles is CEO at PlanetShifter.com Magazine. I have published over 255 thought leader interviews in alchemy, mythology and sustainability and 1750 posts to-date since launching the site on EarthDay 2009. You can review my complete PlanetShifter.com Magazine post archive here.
As co-founder of the project, my current passion surrounds how we can re-energize green alchemy and write new myths for the Sustainability Age. A robust content and social media network has been established to explore and share ideas: PlanetShifter.com Magazine , openmythsource.com, openmythsource.com-reservoir and openmythsource – tumblr and the Community Alchemy collaborative. I have published a new myth series of six visions, published research is sound alchemy, and have multiple posts on the role of permaculture in the sustainability age.
My co-founder David Metcalfe and I have completed a trilogy for the Amazon eBook market, entitled “Activating the New Alchemy and Mythologies for the Sustainability Age.”
j4tp: Climate Change has had its debunkers. What are your thoughts?
wp: It’s hard to understand the naysayers – unless you catch the capitalists at their lies. Clearly, too many short-term profit makers, capricious legislators and out-to-lunch scientists are ignoring the noisy splashes from the ice bergs falling into the sea and the many species on an extinction path.
The failure of COP 15 haunts me as a member of the global community to this day. I can only do my part to reduce my energy use and trust that others are doing the same. Sites like just4theplanet.com serve the public interest well.
j4tp: You have said that that our species have to develop a new “mythology” for the age of sustainability. Can you elaborate on this?
wp: Gladly! Please consider my six myths based on sustainability and permaculture. My goal here is to re-charge our global story base. Given that so much of our media is commercial and redundant, without much soul or universal pitch, I see a need to offer kids especially visions of bees in caves, lightning seeds, turtles fighting ocean pollutions and someone called the Permaculture King! I am equally compelled to infuse new ideas about alchemy in my myths, including digital, sonic and animism alchemies.
j4tp: What role do you think Religion and Spirituality will play?
wp: Good question! I am currently asking thought leaders interviewees this: “is sustainability like a new religion“?” To me, spirituality and religion are vastly different. My hunch is that my new myths and alchemy processes will be spiritually embraced by each individual. I soundly reject most religious dogma and tradition as top-down controlling and regressive. I would add that my years in Quaker Meetings across the USA ring true as heartful, community-focused and spiritually rich.
j4tp: It has been argued by some that the Judeo/Christian tradition can be partly or even largely blamed as the source for the havoc that has been wreaked by Western societies upon the planet.
wp: Treating the Earth as an endless source of raw material and a dump site for our waste does have some connection to religious teaching. I am exploring other traditions now that offer a more respectful view of Mother Earth and her spiritual vibrations. The openmythsource project is actively seeking and creating new sustainable visions of the planet and all life here.
j4tp: Having said that there has been a move by theologians to stress biblical texts that help us face the current crisis. Also the last and present Pope have made some helpful encyclicals about caring for the environment. Thoughts?
wp: While it might be clever to attempt to pair the climate change naysayers and the Catholic leadership into one dark farce, I admit that the Bible isn’t a book that inspires me and the Pope is just another guy with a collar.
j4tp: What are your thoughts about those critics who argue that “New Age” ideas are in fact very old ideas derived from Hinduism?
wp: My Indian friends in my Linkedin Network would laugh at this one! Seriously, my aim is to deal with the pressures and opportunities in the Sustainability Age!
There are different global traditions and the New Age label is too often broadly applied simply to dismiss alternative thinking and paradigms. PlanetShifter.com Magazine & openmythsource.com are reinvigorating and spreading an understanding of the innumerable traditions and new cultural shifts and provides a portal for a closer relationship with life and possibilities on the planet.
j4tp: How might Carl Jung’s work help with a new mythology? Joseph Campbell was a great populariser of the power of myth. What about his writings?
wp: I am in no way an expert of either man’s work. I do think that Jung’s Red Book is a fascinating opportunity to learn more about him, especially his drawings. Campbell’s hero, journey and initiation are always on my mind when I work with new myths. One of my favourite recent interviews is with the Joseph Campbell Foundation Stephen Gerringer.
Central to my thesis, however, is that the work of Jung and Campbell are great foundations for mythic investigations and new green alchemies – and that we now are required to invent new myths that resonate for a global populous in the Sustainability Age.
j4tp: What are your thoughts on animal rights and bio-diversity?
wp: Both are very critical arenas for our children now. Bio-diversity is a powerful driver of ecological health. Ending the practice of treating animals as hunting trophies and commodities just makes spiritual sense, right?
j4tp: Here at just4theplanet we are big on promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). How do you think corporations and big business need to change?
wp: Whether you are targeting carbon trading schemes, recycling initiatives or energy saving technologies, quantifying sustainability requires a “before and after” metric set. Hard data is more likely to be sustainable data and should satisfy the lawyers, press, community and business groups. We all need to demonstrate that we are taking some of the short-term negatives as sustainability blooms in our homes, schools and businesses.
While many firms lead top-down in these evolving times, others are adopting a cross-silo community approach that attains more company-wide buy-in for sustainability. Secondly, green values are the right values. Recycling, re-sue, reducing energy waste, etc. are self-evident and worth the challenge. The best firms not only see the green writing on the wall, but “become the wall” early in the big picture. Saving money is only one ROI.
We need to speak to the shareholders directly as possible with solid data and alternative business goals. Also, we need to create and support positive communication channels.
j4tp: Can you give some encouragement to our readers with regards what we can all do as individuals to help our planet?
wp: Here is my advice to folks looking to get into the green thing as a sustainability consultant:
One: Intern with a consultant. See what they do before stepping into the fray.
Two: Understand your own values and principles before assisting another with theirs.
Three: Certify a business or an organization as an introduction to the sector.
Four: Don’t get trapped in a green box. Keep pushing for the edges of culture, technology and wellness.
Five: There is more to the future than sustainability.
Six: Understand that branding is not myth making.
j4tp: Well thank you so much Willi. We are very pleased that you have become just4theplanets fourth ambassador. Keep up your pioneering work!
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Willi Paul, Founder & Writer