Author Archives: Naomi Grunditz

From Shangri-La to Baku and Back

Winding up my series, Part Three, on the recent conference “Toward a New Paradigm in Human Development” held in Baku, Azerbaijan, April 30, 2015

Richard Register

I picked up Lost Horizon at a small bookstore just before I left Kathmandu in 1995. The James Hilton yarn is famous for many in the Western World who never read it – or even heard of it – for introducing the timeless land of Shangri-La, a warm climate paradise sheltered behind the towering stone and ice teeth of the Himalaya mountains. Noting the book’s small size and reasonable 275 pages and knowing its popular almost mythic status, I thought it was just the entertainment for my flight out of Nepal and back to the world of my everyday affairs.

It was night at the airport, no posted sign of when our plane was to leave, though my ticket said departure in 45 minutes. READ MORE

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The Paradigms We Live In: Nature’s paradigms and ours

Richard Register

The following essay appeared as two parts in the monthly newsletter of the California educational non-profit Ecocity Builders, the first for their April, 2015 edition and the second for their May, 2015 edition with two separate titles, one for each month.

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   Begin part two, May 2015, Ecocity Builders Newsletter

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For my contribution to our Ecocity Builders newsletter last month I wrote about some of my then current thinking on paradigms, mentioning that I’ve been thinking a good deal about the subject in preparation for attending and speaking at the “New Paradigm for Human Development” conference in Baku, Azerbaijan organized and hosted by the World Academy of Art and Science.

What a difference two weeks make. I’m not the flighty sort but I’ve had some significant additions and some change in thinking in a rather short time. READ MORE

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Baku, Azerbaijan – A good Place for a “New Paradigm” conference

The current dominant world paradigm is all about hyper mobility, scattered development almost everywhere, oil to power mobility and the production/consumption machine – and fighting over it. The new paradigm is about not doing all that but instead learning how human cultures can become healthy among us people and as part of nature. Actually, it goes much deeper than that into the ways our consciousness and consciences manage our information and our lives, all animals in varying degrees, by instinct and by learning, nature and nurture. But after the more physical lead in, we will get to the more cerebral later in this writing.

An often-overlooked location on the surface of the Earth at the source of much of the old paradigm, in those physical terms I mention, is where a new paradigm will be considered at a conference in late April where I will be speaking: Baku, Azerbaijan. READ MORE

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Search for a Science of Unification

Editor’s Note:

Today’s multi-dimensional crises require the social sciences to think outside their individual boxes and work toward a more inclusive, integrated and comprehensive “science of society.” So argue three authors (Garry Jacobs, Winston Nagan, and Alberto Zucconi) in a paper entitled “Unification in the Social Sciences: Search for a Science of Society” published in the October 2014 issue of Cadmus, the journal of World Academy of Art and Science. The following article illustrates the significance of this subject to Ecocity Builders. The article retains the style and format of its original form: a letter from Richard Register to author Garry Jacobs in response to reading the Cadmus paper.  


Dear Garry:

Let me share with you a few themes that come up for me when reading your paper then try to make sense of your thoughts and mine at the same time. READ MORE

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This Changes Everything

by Richard Register, Founder, Ecocity Builders

This is something of a continuation of my last article, with a whole new perspective.

You may remember I wrote about a book called Extracted – How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Pillaging the Planet. Since then I’ve “met” The Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein and bought her latest book from her. That one is called This Changes Everything and it’s about what climate change implies about rearranging our economics and politics—and more than that, maybe our trajectory toward ecological and political collapse on our lovely, rich and vital planet Earth. Emphasize this: collapse means essentially the death of practically everything we hold near and dear.

More on her book and related ideas later. First, just a reminder that “Extracted” was written for the Club of Rome, now 42 years after the Club sponsored the much misrepresented Limits to Growth study and subsequent highly controversial book of the same title. READ MORE

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Remembering my friend Rusong

By Richard Register, founder, Ecocity Builders

His name is Wang Rusong, last name first in China, and Wang pronounced “Wong” – much softer in sound, as befits this wonderful man.

At five minutes after midnight on November 28 in a Beijing hospital my friend Wang Rusong died. I got the message only a few short hours later, California time, from my friend and ecocity architect Paul Downton in Australia. Rusong was one of the kindest, gentlest, most hard working, insightful, original, dedicated and effective, humble and important people I’ve even met. Stuffing so much positive into one person is quite remarkable. Well, that was Rusong. You could almost not notice him until you realized what he was up to, capable of, of the kindest heart yet with a determination of steel. READ MORE

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Columbia Architects Conference, permaculture, and the infamous “bell curve”

Colombia architects conference and permaculture

Climate change is in the news today as I write and as the United Nations meets in New York City on the subject. Three-hundred thousand pro-future demonstrators in the street greeted the delegates. Down in Bogota, Colombia four weeks earlier it was also a major topic at the Universidad Piloto where the Architecture Program hosted their Tenth Annual International Conference entitled “Designing Nature, Humanity, and Culture: Permaculture for the Sustainable Development of Urban Habitat.” This was the second largest audience I’d ever faced, about 2,000 students and public guests. My largest speaking audience was 3,000 at a conference on design – not just sustainable but in general – in Seoul, Korea. Wonderful audiences in both cases, those enthusiastic, bright, young faces. The street in front of the large downtown theater was stuffed with eager audience when we speakers arrived, forcing us through the backstage door like some sort of star entertainers, which of course felt ego-gratifying. READ MORE

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Happy Birthday, Codornices Creek Daylighting and Orchard!

Happy Birthday!

Twenty years ago, toward the end of September 1994, work started on the liberation of Codornices Creek. This creek, comprised of four healthy tributaries becoming one stream near the base of the Berkeley Hills, is the second largest in the Berkeley area. For 50 years it was buried under asphalt between 8th and 9th Street on the Berkeley/Albany border. About eight feet above the forlorn lightless waters in their concrete box culvert were parked oil-dripping cars and a vacant lot covered in 8-foot high fennel. Couldn’t see into the fennel forest, or once in it, out of it; a real dry-land jungle. Savory, if you like licorice flavor or smell.

This time the bulldozers were on our side. In fact the operator who dug the rough trench to create the small valley the creek now flows through was so delighted to be “building” a creek that for the first time in his life he worked for half pay. READ MORE

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Notes from Summer Travels, 2014

by Richard Register

To begin with, a conclusion: China could be the first country to model a “complete” ecocity project. Despite the adoption in bits and pieces of the ecocity model, nowhere have I seen a complete ecocity development project or what we sometimes call an “ecocity fractal” or “integral project” up and running.

I’ve been drawing models of these projects for years. They are places from about the physical footprint of two city blocks (with pedestrian street and plaza) on up in scale that are fully functional, full-on ecological/economic synergistic communities. That is, they have housing, commerce, offices, education, food growing, and rooftop amenities with the best local views of nature and town. They have some product-making, proper response to local sun angles, seasons and weather and are connected with foot, bicycle and rail, powered by renewable energy and replete with best, cleanest building materials. READ MORE

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Help us build educational resources through our flagship program, the EcoCompass. Your donation with optional membership included, will help us set up and curate a global ecocity research group and wiki which will enable us to build and supplement the EcoCompass core learning modules and widen its global contributor base so that we can bring ecocity tools and processes to more cities and citizens around the world. READ MORE

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