The New Story of Life + the C3 Living Design Project

About the Project

The C3 Living Design Project (C3LD) assembles an informal collective celebrating the new story of life being written and created by the planet wide eco-socio-economics movement.   Using a combination of systems, pattern and integrative thinking, the project stitches together the work of professionals, students and academics who are working independently or in small groups to create a vital + living world that is regenerative, restorative, resilient, sustainable and healthy. The project seeks to both create and to integrate available living design knowledge into a cohesive, salient + actionable story about the past, present and future of our planet and its inhabitants.

The C3LD website is curated + developed by Doug Pierce, AIA, LEED Fellow. The concepts and ideas it holds are primarily explored through the generous participation of students and professionals at the American Institute of Architects Minnesota Committee on the Environment (AIA MN COTE), AREA Research, Perkins+Will, The University of Minnesota College of Design, The Minneapolis College of Art+Design (MCAD) and The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS).

The New Story of Life

“Welcome to the Anthropocene” is a three minute video that opened the 2012 RIO Earth Summit. The video powerfully describes the destabilizing impacts of human production, consumption + invention on the Earth’s living systems. It also states that “our creativity, energy and industry offer hope.” In other words, human creativity + invention helped to bring us into the the Anthropocene and it will also be part of what brings us through it and beyond it. 

In 2007 Paul Hawkin, author of Blessed Unrest estimated that there were one to two million organizations worldwide working toward ecological sustainability. They are all working towards a living purpose for human creativity + invention. Hawkin developed his estimate by researching  data bases, tax records and indexes. He states that these organizations are “working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more”

Hawkin goes on to say that “this movement is a new form of community and a new form of story…

comprising hundreds of thousands of organizations claiming no special powers and arising in small discrete ways, like blades of grass after a rain. The movement grows and spreads in every city and country, and involves virtually every culture and religion. It can’t be divided because it is so atomized … it joins, dissipates, and re-gathers, without central leadership or command. In a world grown too complex for constrictive ideologies, even the very word movement to describe such a process may be limiting. Writer and activist Naomi Klein calls it ‘the movement of movements.”

The perspective that Hawkin offers is profoundly informative. He has identified a stream of change as significant in scope as the early industrial revolution. As a comparison, much like this mass movement, the industrial revolution did not have a name until it was well into its 100th year of development at which point it was widespread and having significant impacts at a global scale. It is probable that this movement is even more profound in scale than the industrial revolution. A viable comparison can be made to “the Axial Age” between 800 and 200 BC when the world’s great religions and philosophies first took shape. Karen Armstrong notes in her book The Great Transformation that they were all initially social movements, acting on revulsion against the violence and injustice of their times.

With the help of pattern thinking and the internet, the C3 Living Design Project hopes to collaboratively + collectively clarify the fabric of this new story…

and make it visible to the point in which even more people can see its potential for rapidly evolutionizing the way we live, think and see the world and each other. As the late Jesuit Priest Teilhard De Chardin stated (prior to the internet) “It is not our heads or our bodies which we must bring together, but our hearts. . . humanity. . . is building its composite brain beneath our eyes.”

The C3LD Project compliments and leverages existing living design approaches by pooling their collective knowledge with that of the broader noosphere.

C3LD curates, creates and connects a robust series of ideas, patterns + metrics that reflect the newly developing living vision of humanities’ relationship with the rest of nature and with each other. This new vision of society elevates the vital force of ecological systems to the forefront of human thinking and action. Along with using nature as a mentor and model, it also embodies living ethics and values to help us better manage the reflective thinking capacity we possess as doubly wise, homo sapien sapiens.

Our double wisdom, or our capacity for ‘knowing we know’ combined with our advanced capacity for language elevates our creative potential beyond that of other species on the planet. Our evolving capacity to create and to manipulate the environment around us has become our most essential survival tool. It has likewise become our greatest threat. Used with limited consciousness and without wisdom, our creative capacity is nothing more than a blunt and dangerous tool wielded like the stone axe of a barbarian. We must learn to use our creative capacity wisely and with care. The C3 Living Design Project aspires to collaboratively and collectively imprint meaningful guidance to that end.

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Creating . Connecting . Curating


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