The podcast called For A Greener Future: 2020s Foresight with Tom Sine and Dwight Friesen, that Dwight and I did with Forrest Inslee for Earthkeepers and our friends at Circlewood that host a site on Christian Earthkeeping on Camano Island, WA was posted yesterday. Click below to listen to the podcast.
Part of the Origins of “For a Greener Future: 2020s Foresight with Tom Sine and Dwight Friesen”
As you will hear in this podcast, I had a life-changing experience on that First Earth Day over 51 years ago. I was working as a Dean of Students at Maui Community College in Hawaii. When I learned that Dr. James Dator, Professor in Political Science at the University of Hawaii was coming to our campus to share about new environmental challenges we would be facing in the future, I was intrigued. About 50 of us gathered for Dr. Dator’s very challenging presentation.
As a young 30-something, I prided myself on keeping up with what we used to call “current events”. However, I had no sense that the world was changing or that the environment was at risk. As you will hear in the podcast, the event was followed by a student protest. The combination motivated me to move to Seattle to pursue a doctorate at the University of Washington and a minor in Strategic Foresight.
What the podcast doesn’t include was the remarkable array of interesting individuals I met who shared my growing concern for the future of our planet. My first professor at the UW was teaching a course called Utopias and Dystopias. Frank Herbert was a Science fiction author who wrote Dune. Reportedly, a new film is currently being produced on Dune.
Frank became a mentor to me. When he and his wife retired to windy Port Townsend, Frank immediately saw the opportunity to construct a windmill in his backyard to charge one of the earliest electric cars for his short trips into town to do his shopping.
As I was reading about how others had been impacted, I learned several states were motivated to start state futures projects including Maine Manifesto and California Tomorrow. As I shared this news with several professors working in environmental planning, we decided to see if we could set up a meeting with Governor Dan Evans.
Governor Evans was not only responsive. He hired the Bookings Foundation to help him start a stateside futures process called Alternatives for Washington starting on October 30th, 1974. Two things that were unique to this project were that it invited citizen participation from all over the state and over 70,000 citizens were involved. This led to developing and implementing a host of new statewide goals and projects.
Back in 1974, leaders set plans in place, “to maintain a good quality of life in Washington, energy sources should be developed that are renewable, safe, and efficient”. This recommendation reflected a very early awareness of issues that are much more urgent in 2021. (page 131, Volume 11 Alternatives for Washington)
Governor Evans appointed Dr. Edward Lindaman, the new President of Whitworth University, to serve as the chairman of Alternatives of Washington. Dr. Lindaman headed the Apollo SpaceCraft Project. He was also a futurist and started an alternative dining program for students interested in environmental responsibility. I am deeply grateful to have worked with and learned from this remarkable array of leaders concerned for our common future.
Take a look at 2020s Foresight and the kind of innovative ideas that Dwight Friesen and I offer to Christian leaders in these turbulent times.