The Great Turning: Argument for Earth Community

The above is a video of David Korten, author of “The Great Turning” and leader in the movement for a more sustainable planet.  Though 31 minutes long, it is worth a listen.

Korten presents an interesting though fairly politicized argument for the movement from an imperialistic society to what he calls an “Earth community,” one where collaboration and partnerships prevail. Korten tells the tale of human history gone awry, of imperialism and power hungry leaders denying basic humanity and creating racism, sexism, classism, environmental devastation, war and poverty as a result. As Korten says, business as usual will lead to environmental and social collapse as we continue to feed these “relics of a dying era,” (Korten, 2006). These relics he speaks of are old industries and static thinking; automobile reliance, military states, peak oil, ideological conflicts.

Ideology is a topic Korten touches on a way for imperialistic leadership to utilize stories we create for ourselves to instill fear and justify their actions. By believing we have enemies, we develop a common goal to protect ourselves against them. We develop a “them and us” mentality, demonizing those are not us and building leadership principles based on the idea that to lead, you must conquer others. Korten suggests this “Empire” world is completely and totally unsustainable.

He suggests that a new type of leadership needs to be developed, one created on collaboration and common ground and one that shuns the dominant class perspective. In this new Earth community, a true democracy will be formed, allowing communities to speak with an “audible voice to change the course of the human future,” (Korten, 2006). He argues that “relationships are the foundation of everything” and that in order to sustain as a species, we must embrace a larger global conversation of cooperation in order to continue to flourish on this planet.

I think these leadership principles resonated with me particularly because they really exist at the core of sustainable leadership and management. Whether you work for a private corporation or a non-profit or even a government agency, learning to lead by collaboration and cooperation is a necessity for success and growth in years to come. We have seen the devastating results of a dominance structured leadership and it has proven to be costly, ineffective, counterproductive and often times suicidal. I think Korten best summed it up when he said, “on a finite planet, peace, equity and sustainability are inseparably linked.”

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter