Course Notes

Course Wiki

Week 1 - Regen Ag - Decentralized Energy and Connectivity

The Soil Story with Pashon Murray

  • The Soil Story with Pashon Murray
    • Carbon is not the enemy
      • It is the building block of life
    • We’re moving carbon from the soil into the atmosphere
    • Plants photosynthesis absorb carbon and transform it into carbohydrates
      • Then pump those carbs to the soil as nutrition for the soil
      • A thin layer of compost, applied one time, creates a positive reinforcing feedback loop
      • soil health is essential
    • Regenerative Agriculture Practices
      • No tilling
      • Planned Grazing
      • Planting trees and cover crops

5 Ways to Make Your Garden Regenerative

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Garden Regenerative
  • Home Victory Gardens during WW2 produced a large chunk of veggies
    1. Ditch the chemicals
    2. Keep soils covered (any plant, better than no plant)
    3. Encourage biodiversity
    4. Grow Food
    5. Compost

A Quiet Boycott with David Holmgren (For The Wild Podcast)

  • Permaculture emerged in 1970s
  • How Permaculture differed from organic agriculture
    • Permaculture introduced design and systems thinking in agriculture
    • Why does agriculture base on annual plants?
      • Agricultural systems based on annual plants are more fragile and susceptible to degradation
      • Why not perennials and trees? Nature does this, and it has really high potential
  • Observe and find inspiration from design principles embedded in Nature and Indigenous culture
Self-Reliance Revolution
  • Individual acts in the form of self-reliance may be more successful than any policy ever could
    • Being dependent on and benefiting from the systems we are embedded in, we are also complicit
      • Embodying our radical ideas in our own lives can be much more powerful than demanding changes
      • We prove they can work
    • Any complex system that works has evolved from a simpler system, we can start setting the foundations for the systems we want to live in
    • Given the crises affecting the world, self-reliance may make sense any way
    • It would be a huge strike of labor, consumption and capital with the power of being noticed
  • Using our privilege to create positive change
  • Different permaculture strategies and techniques are relevant in different context

Decentralised energy

Microgrids and Virtual Power Plants playlist

  • Our centralized energy system is fragile and susceptible to shocks

  • Microgrids make it more resilient

    • Useful for emergencies
    • Ideally, could help us re-structure our energy system
    • Can store energy to be used when needed
  • Blockchain can help users trade excess capacity

    • Peer to peer connections among users
      • Prosumers and Consumers
  • Microgrids can become an investment opportunity for communities

    • Not only to become energy independent and resilient
      • Each household becomes a virtual power plant owner
      • Batteries allow to store energy
    • But to turn a profit as well
    • Makes energy more affordable
    • Instead of paying a big corporation for energy, you put money in your community
      • A continuation of the shared economy trend (airbnb and uber) for energy
  • Great example by Solar City

Decentralized Connectivity

Decentralised Connectivity playlist

  • The internet doesn’t need to be run by private companies
  • A community owned internet network is possible (and legal)
  • Examples:
  • When you build your community network you can decide your own terms
    • Privacy
    • Net neutrality laws
  • Supernodes power the internet, hub nodes distribute it
    • More hubs improve connectivity
    • 15 supernodes could provide network to all NYC

Food is Life

  • Food is a gateway to healing the whole system
  • Loss of complexity / Increase in Control in Agriculture
    • Agriculture is complex, but we tried to make it linear, increase its output
    • Practices
      • Monoculture
      • Fewer people on land
      • Diversity loss
      • Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides
  • Soil is key in reversing climate change
    • It’s one of the world’s biggest carbon sink
    • The more diversity of bacteria in soil, the more nutritious and fertile it is
    • Linked to Gut health and mental health
  • Organic is only one of the array included in the regenerative agriculture
  • Regenerative Agriculture practices
    • Agroforestry
    • Polyculture
    • No-till
      • Tilling turns the soil around before planting new crops (thought to increase productivity)
      • Massively disturbs soil health
      • No-till draws carbon from the atmosphere, while tilling does the opposite
    • Multicropping
    • Rewilding
    • Cover-cropping


  • Farm Hack a community for resilient farm innovations
    • Share skills, ideas and designs (Open Source everything)
    • Similar to Open Source Ecology
  • WikiHouse
    • Similar but for houses
    • Low carbon footprint, quick and easy to build

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

  • Video
    • A community support a farmer, ensuring buyers
    • Every week participants receive boxes of fresh food
    • Supermarket model creates perverse incentives
      • Blemish free, long shelf life products produced with fertilizers
    • CSA avoids food waste and encourages high-quality food and soil
  • Article: The growing success of Community Supported Agriculture
    • The CSA model connects people to an ecological farm through a membership scheme which supports the farmer both with finance and community involvement. In return, members receive weekly fresh produce, and opportunities for volunteering, training, children’s activities, and celebratory events to mark the seasons.

Regenerative Agriculture

  • Video Why Regenerative Organic? | Part 1: Big Agriculture Is Broken Part 2: Soil Is the Solution

    • Separating animal from plant farming was a terrible decision
      • Plants and animals are in symbiotic relationship (circular)
    • Industrial model is more linear and creates tons of externalities
    • Agriculture (through healthy soils) has the capacity to sequester carbon
    • Chemicals and fertilizers suck all life out of the soil
    • ”All life on Earth is dependent on six inches of top soil”
  • Video Series: # Soul Fire Farm Liberation on Land Skillshare Video Series

  • Article: Can we ditch intensive farming - and still feed the world?

    • Food production will have to grow by 50 percent by 2050 to feed the growing population

    • agroecology could be widely adopted as an alternative to damaging industrialised farming. Farmers can sow crops such as clover as cover to suppress weeds and return organic matter to the soil, and rotate crops, including vegetables such as legumes that fix nitrogen. It requires close attention to the land itself and the crops, rather than the standard mode of farming which is to plant cash crops at the highest yield possible.

    • Most food is produced by small farms
      • There are more than 570m farms worldwide; more than 90% are run by an individual or family and rely primarily on family labour. They produce about 80% of the world’s food

      • AO considers investment in smallholder production “the most urgent and secure and promising means of combating hunger and malnutrition, while minimising the ecological impact of agriculture”.

Gut Health

Article: Meet the ‘psychobiome’: the gut bacteria that may alter how you think, feel, and act

  • the microbes living inside us outnumber our body’s own cells has turned our view of ourselves inside out. The gut microbiome, as it’s known, weighs about 2 kilograms—more than the 1.4-kilogram human brain—and may have just as much influence over our bodies.

    • with as many as 20 million genes among them, those microbes pack a genomic punch that our measly 20,000 genes can’t match. Gut bacteria can make and use nutrients and other molecules in ways the human body can’t—a tantalizing source of new therapies.

  • growing evidence from epidemiological and animal studies that link gut bacteria to conditions as diverse as autism, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease

  • Drug development for neuropsychiatric disorders has lagged for decades, and many existing drugs don’t work for all patients and cause unwanted side effects. A growing number of researchers see a promising alternative in microbe-based treatments, or “psychobiotics

MicroGrids and Virtual Power Plants

Sustainable microgrids are the future of clean energy

Microgrids — power installations that are designed to run independently from the wider electricity grid in emergency situations — have been around for decades, but until the turn of the century, relied almost exclusively on fossil fuels to generate power. Several communities are also linking solar-and-storage systems mounted on their homes, employing inverters and controllers that have only become efficient and affordable in the last few years to create “community microgrids” that share power among the participants to supplement or replace grid energy

So What Exactly Are Virtual Power Plants?

VPPs are integrated into the grid. Microgrids are often off-grid, and in an on-grid setting, they are designed to be islanded so they can carry on working independently if the grid goes down.

How ‘Virtual Power Plants’ Will Change The Future Of Electricity

The value proposition comes when you can aggregate these batteries and market them as a generation unit. The pool of individual assets may improve over time. But when you add these up, it is better than a large-scale plant. It is like going from mainframe computers to laptops

Decentralized Connectivity


How To Set Up An Open Mesh Network in Your Neighborhood

Week 2 - Ethical Tech

Video: Aza Raskin from the Center for Humane Technology


  • Interconnected problems
    • Fake news, no shared truth, elections hacking etc…
  • They’re all due to the fact that we’re being optimized for the extraction of our attention
    • We upgraded our tech, while downgraded our humanity, flourishing, fulfillment
  • Moving from extractive attention tech to regenerative attention tech
    • Timewellspent changed culture
    • worked with google, apple, facebook to make them implement digital wellness features
  • Bar was not set high enough
  • Tech cannot be downgrading our humanity
    • If we can’t even agree on truth, how can we deal with the global issues of our time?
  • Technology as a way to help us make sense of the world
    • unite us to face the challenges of our time
    • Increase our emotional resilience

Video: Algorithmic Bias

  • Facial recognition software can’t detect people of color
    • Training sets probably do not contain enough diversity
  • Machine learning and algorithms are used in more areas of our lives
    • Police face recognition

Article: To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks


  • Whitman saw public spaces as critical elements of the new American democracy. They were spaces to celebrate individuality and build collective identity. Public parks, he argued, could help weave a greater, more egalitarian “we.”
  • Much of our communal life now unfolds in digital spaces that feel public but are not.
  • Now, accelerated by the pandemic, we spend much of our time living and conversing with others in a different location: digital space. But social media and messaging platforms weren’t designed to serve as public spaces. They were designed to monetize attention.
  • Friction is essential to public space. Public spaces are so generative precisely because we run into people we’d normally avoid, encounter events we’d never expect, and have to negotiate with other groups that have their own needs.
  • Great public spaces are owned by everyone and therefore ought to be designed for everyone. Community board meetings and governance processes can be slow, annoying, and very frictional. But—when they’re working properly—they force designers to contend with and listen to the communities they ostensibly serve.

Article: Building a More Honest Internet


  • Surveillance capitalism
    • a system in which users’ online movements and actions are tracked and that information is sold to advertisers. The more time people spend online, the more money companies can make, so our attention is incessantly pulled to digital screens to be monitored and monetized.
      • The stories that offer the biggest opportunities for engagement—and thus the stories that Facebook is built to direct our attention to—are stories that reinforce existing prejudices and inspire emotional reactions, whether or not they are accurate.
    • Bad-faith actors, from politically motivated individuals to for-profit propaganda mills to the Russian government, can easily harness social-media platforms to spread information that is dangerous and false.
    • Risk of biased algorithms controlling public opinion, the result of elections etc..
      • One way to avoid a world in which Google throws our presidential election would be to allow academics or government bureaucrats to regularly audit the search engine. Another way would be to create a public-interest search engine with audits built in. The idea is not quite as crazy as it sounds.
  • Wikipedia Model
    • Of the world’s top hundred websites, Wikipedia is the sole noncommercial site. If the contemporary internet is a city, Wikipedia is the lone public park; all the rest of our public spaces are shopping malls
    • In the past decade, we’ve moved from Wikipedia being the butt of online jokes about unreliability to Wikipedia being one of the best definitions we currently have of consensus reality.
      • Wikipedia’s method of debating its way to consensus, allowing those with different perspectives to add and delete each other’s text until a “neutral point of view” is achieved, has proved surprisingly durable.

Article: Seeding a Collaborative Technology Alliance

Medium Link

We envision the future of the social web as an ecosystem of collaborative tools designed to enable communities, guilds, and loosely affiliated groups everywhere to collaborate, share resources, sensemake and create at a scale.

A solution to the “tool fatigue” challenge lies in creating interoperability amongst these tools, and protocols for allowing the creation and integration of more tools. This way we can begin to knit together into a flexible, collaborative open social web — facilitating the creation of a culture of creativity, collaboration, and mutual support, for the rejuvenation of the commons — at the scale required for a connected and collaborative humanity.

Video: Can Taiwan Reboot Democracy?


  • Using technology platforms to disrupt democracy
    • 2014 Sunflower revolution split country in half
    • New kinds of protesters: Civic Hackers
      • Got the government to listen
  • Allowing people to share their opinion on a political issue
    • Platform seeks things in common among different opinions
    • The goal is to find consensus among citizens
      • Online debates
        • Removing the reply button removed trolls
  • v Taiwan used to set the agenda for 20 laws
  • “If democratic institutions don’t hold themselves accountable, they risk becoming irrelevant”
  • Open government data, open people data


Remote Work Tools & Tips

Week 3 - Decentralized Organizations

Frédéric Laloux on a New Management Paradigm

Sense and Respond: Frédéric Laloux on a New Management Paradigm

  • The way we run organizations is broken
    • Too slow, bureaucratic, not agile, innovative
    • Words like care and love are repudiated
  • Not the leaders’ fault
    • It’s the management system
    • Executives are at the edge of burnout
  1. Self-management (no boss-subordinate relationships)
    • Hierarchies can’t deal with complex systems
    • Still need people who can take a broad perspective
  2. Wholeness
    • No need to wear a professional masks
    • When you show up partially, you also show up with part of your energy, creativity, passion and motivation
    • Simple practices can bring a sense of safety, vibrancy that allow people to show up fully
  3. Evolutionary Purpose
    • Organization as a living organism with its own sense of direction
    • World is so complex that the best thing we can do is not to predict and control but to sense and respond
      • Following an old plan when circumstances change can be detrimental

The future is in business as commons (TED)

The future is in business as commons

  • A commons is managed by community
    • No community, no commons
  1. Compensation as conversation (self-determined salary)
    • Agreeing on the salary on a project-by-project basis
    • Based on “fairness”
    • Difficult to have conversations
      • People have different perceptions of values
    • Employees manage company’s financials as a commons
    • Better employee engagement, retention, and hiring attractiveness
  2. Collective decision-making
    • Specific process to follow → questions, objectiions (based on potential harm to the company), fixes
    • Anyone can make proposals, objections etc…
  3. Not everything needs to be transactional

Lean and Agile Adoption with the Laloux Culture Model

Lean and Agile Adoption with the Laloux Culture Model

  1. Wolfpack Tribe Paradigm Red (mafia)
    • Powerful leader inspires fears in enemies
    • Good for chaotic situations
    • Division of labor
  2. Army Paradigm Amber (government)
    • Strict hierarchical structure
    • Stability and control
    • Long-term perspective
    • Formal processes and roles
  3. Machine - Orange (most corporations)
    • Competition within the organization and with other organizations
    • Focus on profit and growth
    • Leaders set the strategy, lower levels have some freedom
    • Focus on innovation, accountability and meritocracy
  4. Family Green (Ben & Jerry’s)
    • Focus on delighting customers, shared values and high engagement
    • Balance the needs of all stakeholders
    • Culture over strategy
    • HIerarchical structure may conflict with people’s desire for ore autonomy
  5. Living System -Teal
    • Anti fragile structure (flat, or evolving roles)
    • Shared goal (making the world better)
    • Distributed decision making (advice process)
    • Wholeness (safety, not being judged)
    • Self-management
    • Evolutionary purpose


Samantha Slade - Going Horizontal

  • Employee dissatisfaction is not actually being fixed by current practices (adding a ping pong table)
  • Humans didn’t evolve in formal hierarchies (tribes may have emerging, dynamic hierarchies, not formally set ones)
    • But in our workplace somehow we are forced to adjust to it
    • It’s so pervasive it somehow feels natural
  • Changing the company structure without changing its cultural won’t work

Three Types of Practices

  • Personal (quiet and organic) practices

  • Informal (collective and safe)

  • Prototyping (collective and formal)

  • Horizontal practices/structure often get dismissed at the first difficulty

    • Forgetting/ignoring the many difficulties in traditional structures as well
  1. Autonomy
    • Claiming your leadership
  2. Purpose
    • The more explicit, the more people can be autonomous
  3. Meetings
    • Show me how your meetings run and I’ll explain your culture
    • How can our meetings become a fractal of the world we want to live in?
  4. Transparency
    • Open is effective and efficient
    • Transparency is needed if we want to truly collaborate
  5. Decision-making
  6. Learning & Development
    • Self-directed and collectively held
  7. Relationship and Conflict

Week 4 - Reading Week

Food Systems

Holistic Management

Better Tech

Decentralized Connectivity

Open Source

Deliberative Digital Democracy x Audrey Tang

Going Horinzontal

  • Holacracy: A Radical New Approach to Management by Brian Robertson at TEDxGrandRapids (video, 18m20)

  • Idea of social technologies (democracy, management hierarchy, holacracy)

  • With the right set of rules, we don’t need a hierarchy

    • Example of hundreds of cars moving efficiently on the street without anyone directing them
  • Key Shifts to Holacracy

    • Dynamic instead of static job descriptions (the result of people deciding together)
      • Each has autonomy within their boundaries
    • Distributed authority (instead of delegated authority)
      • No boss to contradict you in your role, where you have authority
      • No one has authority over someone else
    • Rapid iteration (instead of large scale re-org) - constantly evolving, fine-tuning small pieces (dynamic roles)
    • Transparent Rules
    • Higher Purpose
    • Fractality
      • Autonomous circles with autonomy are part of larger autnomous organs
  • Key Ingredients of Modern Communities for Impact by Enspiral’s Chelsea Robinson

    • community accelerates personal growth
      • These little clusters of solidarity create a space of growth for the people and their projects. Getting together to learn, galvanise, weep, expand, refocus — these rituals come in all shapes and sizes. Once you dive into any community, big or small, you discover subtle dysfunctions. Conflict shows us how we can grow. Community solution-finding becomes personal transformation.

      • not answers to your challenges so much as recipes for finding and developing your own

      • However community is not always a good place for rigorously examining beliefs as it can become an echo chamber. Instead, what it clear is that community accelerates growth and becomes a primordial soup for enhancing everyone’s capacity for impact.

Week 5 - Co-Ownership Models

Ownership Model 1 Ownership Model 2 Ownership Model 3



  • May look like other businesses, but are actually owned by stakeholders (customers, employees, residents or suppliers), who have a say in most decisions
    • In the UK they contribute 37B per year
    • In 2020 less than 1% of UK businesses are co-ops
  • Worker-owned vs. multi-stakeholder owned
    • ”multi-stakeholder co-operative is any co-op that draws its membership from two or more different classes of stakeholders”
Platform Coops

Stephen’s article

  • While platform companies like Airbnb & Uber create lots of benefits, they’re often also exploitative, monopolistic and extractivist.
  • Platform coops are a cooperatively owned, democratically governed alternative
    • Like a normal coop, but online

Steward Ownership

  • Seems to be an “in-between” a coop and a normal company
  • Steward-owned companies are committed to two principles:

(1) Self-governance — Control remains inside the company with the people directly connected to stewarding its operation and mission. With the control of the company held in a trust, it can no longer be bought or sold. (2) Profits serve purpose — Wealth generated by these businesses cannot be privatized. Instead, profits serve the mission of the company, and are either reinvested in the company, stakeholders, or donated. Investors and founders are fairly compensated with capped returns/ dividends.

Purpose’s Booklet


  • Ownership as responsibility vs. ownership as investment (one issue of Capitalism)

    Our laws today define corporate ownership not as an office or a responsibility, but as an investment and a tool for generating personal wealth. If we viewed ownership as a responsibility or appointed office, could we in good conscience use business as a mechanism for generating personal wealth?

  • Often investors are “absentee owners” in it for the money, but not caring about the business’ practice, goals, purpose etc…
  • Trend of concentration and centralization in the market is worsening the problem of ownership as investment
    • Large, public companies are buying out smaller, independently owned companies
  • Steward-owned companies…

    have all implemented ownership structures that permanently anchor their values and independence into their legal DNA. Like the Romans, responsibility is passed from one generation of stewards to the next based on their skills and values. Ownership in these organization is viewed as a responsibility. The stewards of a company control the “steering wheel” - the voting rights - of the company. The company is not viewed primarily as a source of personal profit; instead, profits serve as the “seed” for the future, and are largely reinvested rather than privatized. Decisions are never made by absentee owners or foreign investors, but by people who are deeply committed to the company, its mission, its values, its employees, and its consumers.

    • Keep themselves value aligned and keep a long-term horizon (fighting our Present Bias)
    • Tend to have better, more democratic governance


Good definitions

A DAO is an internet-native entity with no central management which is regulated by a set of automatically enforceable rules on a public blockchain, and whose goal is to take on a life of its own and incentivize people to achieve a shared common mission. (Aragon) a community of people making decisions together in a decentralized manner, made autonomous through their software underpinnings. A DAO can be thought of as a tool that can be leveraged by communities and organizations of different types. (DAOHaus)

  • Bitcoin is the most famous example of a DAO

Managing the Commons


Week 6 Regenerative Money

Sacred Economics Charles Eisenstein


  • He explained how the money system is broken (similar to Course - Peak Prosperity → The system is designed to have more debt than money, as they both grow exponentially debt becomes unreasonably larger than money)
  • I like what he said about gift being an essential component of community
  • As we monetized all kinds of services and lost the art of gift, we also lost community
    • Not possible to re-introduce old communities in our over-monetized system
  • Solutions mentioned
    • Social Dividend (sort of Universal Basic Income (UBI))
    • Internalization of costs like pollution
    • Inverse interest? Not really sure I understood it


What is SEEDs? & The Evolution of Money - Gold, Dollars, Bitcoin & Seeds

  • Currency rewarding organizations contributing to regeneration
  • Rewards (interest) not based on wealth but on positive contribution
  • Better than cash
    • Get rewarded for supporting positive organizations
  • Supply Rules and Volatility
    • SEEDS is designed to be undersupplied at first (like gold & BTC), to make it increase value over time
    • In v2, SEEDs supply is designed to fluctuate depending on Demand to hold its value stable
      • Optimizing for store of value means that it will be underoptimized for value growth
  • Considerations to evaluate new currencies
    • Network Costs
      • Massive costs for gold, cash and BTC
    • Voice in Governance & Transparency
      • Nobody has a say in Gold or Cash decisions
      • Bitcoin is decentralized, but still difficult to have a say
    • Relationship to Ecology
      • Financial instruments can’t become more valuable than natural resources
        • This is what happens with traditional currencies

[[Mone- Co-ownership models as tools to help us deal with the Tragedy of the Commons

Rich people who own assets (stock, real estate etc…) have been getting richer and richer

Crypto for the first time decoupled currencies from governments

Homework Journaling

Week 1