Fomenting the Necessary Revolution

Posted by: Joe Laur on Thursday, March 13, 2014.

 What does it mean to “foment a revolution”? Let’s start by defining our terms from the Encarta Dictionary-



  1. to cause or stir up trouble and rebellion



  1.   required in order to achieve a specific result
  2. inevitable given what has happened previously



  1. a dramatic change in ideas or practice
  2. one complete circular movement made by something round or cylindrical, e.g. a wheel, around a fixed point


Everywhere I go, I hear people saying that environmentally we can’t keep going in the direction we’re headed- it’s going to lead to catastrophe. At the same time people say that we can’t do much to change it- the economy can’t handle it, the powers in charge are too entrenched, and time’s too short. Interesting dilemma- we can’t keep on doing what we’re doing and we can’t change it. What a recipe for despair!


Remember Captain Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru training exercise in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? If you haven’t, it’s worth the rental fee. It was a no-win, lose/lose emergency rescue exercise designed to test the character of cadets in the StarFleet’s training regimen. Rescuing a disabled ship puts your ship and crew in peril. Not rescuing it dooms them to certain death.  In the history of the academy only James T. Kirk had ever beaten the exercise and won the day. How? Simple. He changed the rules. He reprogrammed the computers to allow for a way out of the predicament. He refused to accept a “no-win” scenario.


That’s what “fomenting a necessary revolution” is all about, not just the snappy title of the Doubleday book SEED Systems CoFounder Sara Schley and I coauthored.  In order to create the kind of world we want our kids to inherit, we need to stir up the right kind of trouble, trouble that is required and inevitable to bring about a dramatic change in ideas and practices that will take us “full circle” ( the original meaning of revolution) back to a sustainable and sustaining future.


What do I mean, “back to a …future”? Great movie title, but how do we do that? Luckily it’s simple. Not easy, but simple.


Let’s take a look back first. No better place to look back than from the future, so we’ll pickup there next time.  Stay tuned.


Private comment posted on March 14, 2014 at 9:39:52 am

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