Climate Change

The Climate Campaign white paper featured here was completed in early 2013. It demonstrates our approach to cultural evolution, and we invite your feedback.

Perhaps nowhere has the dysfunctional dynamic of American politics been more highlighted than in the struggle to respond to the issue of climate change. Despite the many millions of dollars that have been spent on creating political will for climate change over the last decade, public support for action on the issue remains inadequate to manage the long term risks posed by carbon in the atmosphere. Why? In the Climate Campaign Plan we address the primary causes of this hard truth. We dig beneath the surface to root out the reasons why climate change, despite significant scientific backing and increasing evidence, has failed to move the dial of public concern. And with our unique diagnosis come unexpected and surprising solutions, and a path forward to address the social and political problem—one that offers no quick fixes but holds authentic hope to build a new consensus for positive action. The time is ripe for novel ideas and unconventional strategies.


Blake Ludwig
July 2, 2015, 5:52 am

There is much more nuance possible in my responses, but this is a starting place for my own exploration.

When Adam Werbach, then the youngest president of the Sierra Club, famously gave a talk titled “The Death of Environmentalism and the Birth of the Commons Movement” to the Commonwealth Club of California over 2 decades ago, he argued that environmentalists and conservationists hadn’t cottoned on yet to the inextricable connections between environmental and social issues – they were all human issues. In other language I’d paraphrase John Muir with this quote: “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” It’s impossible to speak of the ecological movement, or the economy, as somehow 2 distinct issues. Both are inherently related.

Personally I think it’s premature to even begin taking about climate change in America. Whilst some get it, the majority doesn’t. What is IT? To me climate change isn’t about reducing CO2. It’s not a goal to meet or a project we can engineer ourselves out of. It’s a different way of looking at our selves, ‘the projection of other’, nature and the world. It’s a realisation that cant be forced on anyone. We can plainly see the incredible racial polarity in America as an example. How can you begin to face ecological problems whilst the civil war continues in the social fabric of a nation? Or the ongoing philosophical tensions between Adams and Jefferson as they continue to inflame debate between big government vs self-determination and autonomy?

Instead I would concentrate your efforts on promoting and invigorating HEALTHY orange, and helping hold them as examples to critique unhealthy orange companies.

I’ve often wondered where the conscience comes from for a CEO to suddenly wake up and radically shift their business. Look at Ray Andersen, or Visa, or perhaps Cradle to Cradle companies. What makes the companies notice that they HAVE to do business differently? The new book on Rethinking Organisations by Frederic Laloux gives many emergent examples.

I’m also interested in your paper that you speak of the positive side of globalisation, as if it were just economic. Actually I think Green is empowered by globalisation – though on a social and environmental and relational level. We suddenly have a greater awareness of our shared humanity, so much so that global moves to prevent sweat shops and deforestation as well as promote human rights have increased in countries most of us have never been. Green’s empathy has greatly increased. The shadow side of global capitalism is immensely evident nowadays due to technology, and it makes me wonder if Orange has actually realised the philosophical importance of globalisation (beyond profits and potential for growth) in order to let in the interconnectedness they have themselves helped create?

I have three further thoughts. One is the images seen from our space pioneers of our fragile planet. Has orange begun let in the spiritual or religious revelatory nature of those images? At the end of Al Gore’s famous film, he says that what we need now is a spiritual shift, and its so true in my own experience; having been an environmental campaigner for more than 2 decades, I recognised that taking a hardfast position prevented me from actually engaging with people about matters that concern us all on a deeply human level. I also discovered the incredible joy in letting go of what I thought I know in order to re-examine and discuss with others assumptions about reality and where we go next. Einstein’s quote that we cant fix a problem from the same mentality that created it in the first place applies very much in the ecological arena, as scientists and people like Stewart Brand advocate geo-engineering technologies.

Secondly I return to your paper where you uphold the economy as being pretty much paramount – almost as if business and the economy is synonymous with democracy, freedom and liberation of the individual. On reflection, and rather naively i admit, I see that trade used to be in servitude to social relationships; between people, families, tribes. increasingly it seems to be that trade (and business) is becoming about rights to exploit. Trade deals are set up to colonise and exploit emerging nations in the name of increasing ‘democracy’ and development. I would argue again that without a healthy mature perspective that expansion of orange is doing more harm than good. We can look to Iraq and the middle east to see the fallout from the West’s economic (and political) foreign policy.

Humbly I’ll submit this latest leak about secret trade deals the US and other governments are working on. Here in the UK and Europe we are increasingly uncovering the motives behind TTIP, to a stage where the EU parliament had to cancel a vote because there was so much public concern.

Third and lastly your paper admittedly is American-centric. As an expat living abroad for 2 decades I see there are many cultural assumptions made in your paper. Rightly or wrongly I’d point out that cultural optimism that is so rich in the US (and so lacking here in the UK) also prevents humility and deep reflection, let alone compromise. Its a double edged sword that needs to be used carefully and increasing maturity. Progress and the thrill and freedom in abandoning the past leads also to severing vital connections and knowledge that are also part of who we are. You’ve stated that growth is good, and I’d challenge that basic assumption. I’d say reflection is good right now.

Cynthia Johnson
January 20, 2014, 7:37 pm

Hello again,
I have read about another organization, that appears to be using integral principals of working with the business sector (orange)and promoting what is good for the whole regarding climate change. I think it is worth looking into as a good example.

Here is the link:


Cynthia Johnson
September 18, 2013, 8:42 pm

I have just read an article from the Integral Post that I think is relevant and is a practical application of some of the integral principals with climate change. It is possible that ICE is already aware of this work…but if not, I think there is helpful and practical information here. The title of the article is:
“New UK Government Publications on an Integral Approach to Climate Change” and David Ballard is the author.

Here is the link if you are interested:

Cynthia Johnson
August 25, 2013, 2:01 pm

It is exciting to see how this website is becoming more comprehensive and to see the services you will be providing to organizations! I am hoping as you continue with the media campaign that you will be able to expand on and be more specific regarding the 10 talking points mentioned in the Climate Change paper.
As I check blogs on post-modern ecological sites, it would be good to have a short intro about ICE that is in one paragraph or so..versus 10 talking points which can be a bit lengthy. I think, just learning how to dialogue one to one on blogs or in person about these issues would be great. I have some idea of how to do this, but I think it would be great to have more dialogue and more information about this.
I guess what would help the person on the street …like me…. is watching an actual dialogue (simulated or real) between an integral perspective and the green (post-modern) perspective…where the integral ideas are proposed in a brief time. Often we have little time to catch a person’s interest and the shorter the better. Maybe this is already in the future plans to do this…but just an idea. I realize that this type of dialogue depends a lot on each individual situation, but it would be helpful for me to have more specific ideas.
I am so glad that you and others are going to work on this particular edge of evolution and that your group has the courage and compassion to attempt to put these theories into action for the good of the whole. To go where no man has gone..I am a Star Trek fan:)

Luke Stanley
July 31, 2013, 8:51 pm

I’m glad to see the new website is up. You could make the presentation much more snappy IMO. I didn’t see a comments section for the video BTW.

July 29, 2013, 6:55 pm

Very happy to know that this project continues to move forward!

Sharon Nolting
July 27, 2013, 7:20 pm

I have been very impressed with the ambitious mission of ICE to promote progress on climate change with a new strategy to address prejudices against facing scientific consensus due to cultural identifications. The application of ideas from Integral Philosophy and understandings of cultural groups, in the context of cultural evolution, to the climate change issue, could potentially bring about a breakthrough in enabling environmental activists and organizations to expand their base of support. As a long time environmental activist (on a modest level), I am heartened by these efforts and the possibilities they could produce for more effective and expansive action. We have no time to lose, and I am eager to see this work proceed.

Sarah Barrett
July 23, 2013, 7:11 am

Your campaign is so, so, needed. Thank you, Steve, Carter, Elizabeth, Michael, John, and Jeff.

Michael Powell
July 22, 2013, 10:34 pm

The importance of cultural evolution as the focus of bringing a synthesis of solutions to address climate change is tremendous. Your nine strategic observations listed in Section 10 of this paper are useful to provide a framework for action to help people incorporate climate change into one’s worldview understanding and act accordingly. Encouraging the natural tendency for people to seek evolutionary change that betters one’s life and those connected to self is a great place to start.

James D. Elliott
July 20, 2013, 1:11 am

The earth’s climate has always been changing. This recent debate on climate change is focused in the wrong direction. The data is skewed upon models that are inaccurate. In the current scheme of things, at the present level of technology, we have enough fossil fuels to last another thousand years, making the assumption of no change in how we produce cars and process fossil fuels.
The fact that the Earth needs healing is a given. But the first step is spiritual awakening to the fact that we are One with the Earth. The second step is to break the money cycle of current human energy consumption. As an example, the earth is an electromagnetic grid that can be tapped, which is what Nicolas Tesla was trying to do back in the late 1880’s, to give everyone free electricity. J.P. Morgan said no to Tesla’s project and went with Edison’s plan, which is why we have the electrical grid system we currently use, based on a monetary system of reward of wealth to a specified class of people invested in this grid, namely the power companies. What is more important than climate change is how we process the millions of poisons from garbage, water waste, the electromagnetic discharge from electrical wires strung up around the nation, recycling, soil erosion, and other forms of rape upon the Earth. We will always have climate change, that is going to be a fact as we enter through a new precessional galactic cycle in the Universe.

Susan Olshuff
July 19, 2013, 7:48 am

As one who has been involved in the environmental movement for many years, reading this paper addressing climate change was a breath of fresh air. I’ve run public education programs, knocked on doors to promote solar and energy audits, shown An Inconvenient Truth dozens of times to groups of people, worked for climate change laws and more, and have been frustrated again and again by the inertia and apathy around this critical area. Introducing the profound potential that the understanding of cultural conditions and evolution can bring to this field is very exciting. Dare I feel a bit of hope?

Verona Rylander
July 18, 2013, 9:56 pm

So glad to hear that ICE is making progress toward achieving some of its early goals of funding. And congratulations on Jeff’s joining the board. He will be a strong partner in taking the next steps.

July 18, 2013, 5:11 pm

A good plan, and well researched. Just in the last year I have become aware of the urgency of the climate crisis, and have become active with and Citizen’s climate lobby. I do wonder if your plan expresses the urgency enough, as the artic ice cap is melting faster than expected, and I’m not sure we have the time this document seems to think we do.
In any case, it has been very helpful to me in my beginning work, and I’m sure we’ll all catch up to events as they unfold.
Looking forward to more.

    Stan Gower
    August 7, 2013, 2:08 am

    I agree with you Nancy absolutely, that it is a good plan and well researched. Like you, I found it very helpful. I guess with any important and urgent issue we can sometimes wish things would, or could, move faster.

    In this plan, at the end of Point 2, (P5), I read, “Americans are insufficiently motivated to care about climate change because of a complex set of cultural factors that must be understood as a prerequisite to effective action.” I think that this it true also of the people in Australia where I live.

    I was helped to see more clearly the daunting challenges that are addressed in the Climate Change Plan, by having previously read, and pondered, the chapters about the “Stages of Consciousness and Culture” and “Integral Politics”, in Steve McIntosh’s book, Integral Consciousness.

    Last year, at the age of 75, with my wife Wendy, we made our first visit to the Daintree rain forest, and snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, in Queensland. This certainly sharpened our sense of the great need to preserve our environment, perhaps parallel to the way you mentioned that your sense of urgency was sharpened. We realized as never before, that to put at risk all this natural beauty for the sake of short term economic gains would be a monstrous crime, and just plain bad long term management.

    I wonder if you had anything specific in mind when you expressed your sense of urgency in respect of the Plan. I would certainly like to discuss it with you. At present I am not aware of any other well researched program dynamic, similar to the Institute’s Plan, that appears to address in specific and convincing terms what needs to be done. I really appreciated your perspective, and would love to continue chatting about this. Stan Gower. Melbourne, Australia.

Dennis Tirman
July 18, 2013, 2:10 pm

It’s wonderful to see that ICE is continuing to develop and add services. I have been extremely impressed with the insight and courage you all have brought to some of the most critical and troubling issues of our age. The crushing dysfunction of our politics in general and especially around climate change puts the work of ICE at the forefront of the need to more effectively establish generative policies and leadership. The cultural perspective adds a dynamic and platform for our society to move beyond the paralysis of negative assumptions, blame, and finger pointing. With much gratitude, Dennis Tirman

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