The earth, the Blue Planet, dear to us all. Humans as a dominant species have learned to respect its limits. Nature has its own rights, now. Humankind has evolved. Every individual gifted uniquely, every talent put to use. Living and working together in harmony, making responsible choices. A union of global citizens to cope with the most complex challenges. Wisdom councils to govern our places of residence and companies. We cherish the places where we are, care for all life and bring nature back to fruition. As the future-determining species on earth, we choose to create favourable conditions for other species and ecosystems to thrive. We are the people to rely on, for next generations. We cannot live by dreaming alone, but we can create a loving and all-embracing vista to take with us, every day.
It has taken us a long time to become aware of what is happening at a planetary level. Despite our good will and best efforts, we will have to accept, that in the coming decades life conditions on our home planet as a whole will deteriorate further. This calls for transformative change, at all levels: economy, governments, cities, businesses, individuals. Everyone is needed, all talents count. Humanity’s Code of Care can give direction in the manifestation of the vision: Taking care of self, others, place and planet. The aspiration in all work with lifemaps is to find ways to learn to live according to Humanity’s Code of Care, individually and collectively.
The purpose of the lifemaps is to offer experiences in which people can connect to societal and global issues, discover new information about their own unique position and role, and determine a realistic and environment-friendly course for the future. A coherent set of lifemap scenarios is developed in which Humanity’s Code of Care is embedded. Insight is useful and it can have impact, but the lifemaps aim to invite people to go one step further: to find new ways to apply Humanity’s Code of Care in their every-day life. The challenging question for this is: How can we learn to take care for ourselves, others, places and planet simultaneously, at every step?
Applying Humanity’s Code of Care at city level brings together a variety of engaged parties in a way that established positions play a lesser role. It draws individuals out of their own affairs so that ingrained habits are left at home. The city is dependent on supply areas for most of its basic needs. Making this explicit opens up new ways of taking care of the earth. A city is partly defined by the place, which makes it easier to include taking care of the place in everything. The city is the think, do and socialise bubble not only for people; it is also home to plants and animals and consists of earth and water, architecture and arts, maintenance and waste management. The city offers an ideal setting to explore and apply Humanity’s Code of Care.
During the design and development phase of the current lifemap scenarios being part of the Integral City core team was of great support. In 2020, it was Marilyn Hamilton, founder of Integral City, who was the source of inspiration for the creation of the lifemap scenario: 4 Voices in the city, working together as bees in a hive. The physical place is of great importance for a human being to connect with nature. Consciously connecting with nature is essential for human beings to develop capacities of caring for place and planet. All in all this makes a city an ideal context for societal programmes centring on greening and sustainability. Integral City offers an extensive and holistic framework for cities. An integral city takes its example from the beehive, giving and taking in harmony with the natural environment. The intention for the lifemap sticker sets is to include the key themes, relevant for an integral city.
Meshworking is a great way to collaborate in order to make a success of multi-stakeholder projects. The work of Anne-Marie Voorhoeve, co-founder of The Hague Center for Global Governance and Emergence and a thought leader when meshworking is concerned, has been another source of inspiration in the development phase of the lifemap scenarios. A key to success in meshworking is to jointly define overarching goals which unite the parties involved and let people rise above their own interests. Practices to implement this are to bring together all stakeholders, acknowledge and include their interests, jointly develop common guiding principles and forge multiple-value based agreements. One of the lifemap posters, the Compass poster, can carry a realistic meshworking process to experiment with. All work with lifemaps is infused with the power of a meshworking.
‘How we talk about and explore the challenges of city life will shape real improvements’ says Beth Sanders, initiator of City Makers. Members of this community actively engage with each other and learn from each other. Ellen van Dongen, maker of lifemaps, has considerable experience in multi-stakeholder collaboration, but not in the context of the city. Participating in City Makers gives her the opportunity to learn from real-life cases. Besides working with lifemaps, she is motivated to find out where members have complementary capacities and offerings and to encourage them to bring in their best practices, such that the community as a whole can thrive.
All work with lifemaps is project-based. Lifemaps are an instrument to develop the individual perspective into key global, societal and personal issues. Collaborating in groups of four works well for this purpose, which asks for a scope that is wide as well as deep. A project starts with the choice of a scenario and an orientation on its overarching goal. The scenario is then validated in the chosen context and tailored to the audience. People who want to know more about a particular scenario can get an invitation to participate in one of the running projects.
Integrating new knowledge and insight, to intuite your own way to prepare for the future
Much has been woven into the lifemaps. On top of what is shown above, the Doughnut Economics model and the model of the planetary boundaries are introduced, but bits of wisdom from many other sources are part of lifemaps, too. As a participant you don’t need to have prior knowledge. During a lifemap workshop a lot is touched inside that cannot be grasped immediately. So, we will be sensitive to what goes on, for the individuals as well as the group, and respond to it in terms of content, process and relationship. Lifemaps are meant to raise awareness at an experiential level. This will manifest itself in various ways: as insights and concrete ideas, but also as experienced feelings or a realisation of not knowing. We will create the conditions through which the full richness comes to the fore.
The lifemap scenario 4 Voices in the city working together like bees in a hive uses a simple meshworking process to enable multi-stakeholder groups in a city to discover and experience Humanity’s Code of Care, and find new ideas and perspective for collaboration. In 2020 workshops using this scenario were organised in cooperation with the Caravan of Unity, an initiative of Co-Creating Europe for peace, democracy and solidarity. During the 99 days journey of the Caravan, from World Unity Week to Peace Week, a mixture of online and on location workshops were hosted for London and Findhorn in the United Kingdom, in Klaipeda in Lithuania, Tampere in Finland, and Lisbon in Portugal. Both the experiences and the outcomes created a rich harvest.
In 2022, a group of people set the intention to find ways to develop more peace in our own lives, as a person and a citizen. During the 99 days journey, from World Unity Week to Peace Week, we started to work with lifemaps to create an overview of how what was going on in the world was reflected in our lives. The individual mapping process helped to open up ourselves. Then, seeing ourselves in this overview, we explored the openings and possibilities to consciously develop peace. Exchanging stories and deep listening brought our energies together and created a calm and connected group space. Looking back at our journey, we were amazed to find how peace had indeed inspired us and had expressed itself in our actions.
Building on earlier engagements and projects
Former employer, UWV Data Services (Social Services), hosted the try-out of the first lifemap scenario for teams. Projects in the years after that – always responding to an innovative initiative – were delivered: as a committed participant and workshop host in the Veerhuis, as an ambassador for an inclusive and flexible employment market in Werken in Netwerken, as a co-creator of the BOOST013 Workshop at Tilburg Municipality, as an active member of the IHBV group for highly gifted entrepreneurs, and as a partner of Inspiration at Work. Thanks to the experiences and stimulating collaborations in these past projects, the lifemaps became robust enough to go further out into the world.