Exploring Earth Systems

On Tuesday, May 9, the Norway House hosted a moderated discussion titled Exploring Earth Systems: the Geoversiv Approach to Smart Future-Building, with Don Shelby and Joseph Robertson. The event was held in the Norway House Galleri, where explorer David Thoreson‘s brilliant, moving photography exhibit ‘Over the Horizon’ was on display.

Event details:

  • Exploring Earth Systems opened at 7:00 pm CDT, with an informal reception.
  • At 7:30, Christina Carleton—Executive Director of Norway House—welcomed the audience and introduced the evening’s moderator, Don Shelby.
  • At 7:35, Don Shelby—prize-winning journalist and recognized pioneer in the communication of climate change science and the need for climate-smart policy—introduced the evening’s guest speaker.
  • At 7:45, Joseph Robertson—founder and president of the Geoversiv Foundation—presented the Geoversiv approach to building a climate-smart economy.
  • After the Geoversiv presentation, Don Shelby moderated a discussion between Joseph Robertson and the audience.

Don Shelby opened the event, drawing on his own experience as an investigative journalist and leading member of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team. Shelby quoted Robertson’s description of the Geoversiv mission to set the mood:

The unknown is a vast and threatening landscape. Acting without exploring the boundaries of what we know is still more perilous. Misinformation disempowers people and institutions. Confusion disrupts our sense of capability.

Exploration gives purpose. In finding truth, we learn about ourselves—about our limits and how to transcend them, and about our role as witnesses and world-builders.

You cannot make a world with untruth. The world is built truth by truth, whether by accident or with insightful planning. Knowledge comes from discovery, which comes from exploration. There is a need for that quiet daring that allows us to go beyond our day to day limits and commit to keep learning about our universe.

This is the Geoversiv commitment: embrace complexity; find actionable clarity for human resilience. To support people’s own efforts to do this, we must: empower, connect, build.

Shelby added that given five decades of experience as an investigative journalist, our right to seek and to know truth, to ask meaningful questions and to expect truthful answers, is crucial to understanding this moment in history.

Exploring Earth Systems

The global unsustainability crisis extends not only to food and water supplies, the endangerment of species and habitats, and life-sustaining ecosystems, but also to the future viability of the stable climate system and of nation states. The choice between unsustainable practices and a sustainable future is a choice about the security of human civilization, and the liberating values we have come to cherish.

The Geoversiv approach to smart future-building focuses on generative strategies that build value and capability at the human scale. Embracing complexity as the most direct path to clarity, we look for critical trends that add, hide, limit or expand value not priced in the everyday economy. We then develop tools to empower people, communities, and decision-makers to better secure those non-price drivers of future value.

Among these are:

These innovations will help us to solve problems faster and build an economy that works for everyone.


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