The “organic digital society” may be a mythical topic to some, but to an increasingly pivotal trans-local community, such matters of online coordination for ecological transformation have become their bread and butter.

Between the contemporary paradigm shifts of Web3, whole systems design science, and a critical mass of post-millenium voices thirsting for ecological reconnection, this self-aware movement began to germinate in a niche between worlds.

Its fundamental evolutionary trait: to design our interactions with the world, with care and mutual respect — together.

Wedding chapel designed by Hiroshi Nakamura — Image by koji fujii / nacasa and partners

At the core of this shift was an ability to reshape the way we exchanged value with…

Discovering Wisdom in Living Systems Design

Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa (神奈川沖浪裏) adapted into a meme about pollution

For the minority of the global population who have encountered the term “permaculture”, many still hold a limited view of this design system, associating it (with historical accuracy) to farming — but only farming.

The truth is, although this term was coined by a couple of English-speaking post-agriculture revolutionaries, its fundamental power — rooted in its core ethics and twelve principles — is to guide people, no matter how grassroots or systemically influential, to interact with the systems we are dependent on in a way that increases the wellbeing and prosperity of ourselves, our earth, and all living creatures.


Whole systems are changing rapidly. What kind of education makes sense now, for ourselves and our children?

Education is the greatest preventative medicine for any kind of illness.

If there that’s true, then the challenge has only begun.

Who chooses what we need to learn, when there’s so much to pay attention to and a lack of certainty about what matters?
What should be on the curriculum for the leaders of 2030? 2040?
What on earth will be relevant by then?
What will be happening on earth?

“Perhaps we should say that all our problems tend to gather under two questions about knowledge.

Having the ability and desire to know, how and what should we learn?

And having learned, how and for what should we use what we…

When our choice is between global collapse and a deal with the devil, what is the third way?

I’m reflecting on a video call with my collaborators, Philippe Greier and Marc Thibault. It’s a stormy day in Wellington, and my plans for the year are being cancelled one by one in the face of COVID — 19.

Things are going to get worse. What can I do now? Who can I be?

Taking a Permaculture Design Course in 2016 was my wake-up call to how fragile global human society is; how dependent we are on scarce reserves of fresh water and topsoil, how quickly the loss of biodiversity can lead to any number of crises. …

Our Online Learning Journey for Earth in Solidarity with Indigenous

Screenshot taken during our second session:

This document is an artifact, harvested from the digital learning journey that ran in sync with the Cobra Canoa learning journey in Brazil from September 29 to Oct 8. Our harvesting session was facilitated by Fyodor Ovchinnikov of Institute for Evolutionary Leadership, and Naomi Joy Smith, designer of the Digital Hikoi and coordinator of the Beyond Us community engagement.

Also participating in this harvest, was:

Where do I stand as a Digital Nomad? Where do I belong as a Digital Native?

This post is an exploration on the emergence of digital localism and community, and how it stands in solidarity with decolonization movements worldwide. I’m writing from a personal perspective, as someone who is working actively for ecosocial justice, yet lacks ancestral connection to land and culture.
Provoked by the protests (peaceful occupation for land protection) at Ihumātao, I question the role of ‘digital ecosystems’, ‘sovereignty’ and ‘belonging’ in this new space and invite relationship between stewards of regenerative commons in all forms; whether physical, cultural, digital, intellectual, or spiritual.

You can follow GRDN on twitter to learn how I work…

Commons And Consciousness

Cosmic Energy by Remedios Varo (1956)

Consciousness as unmanifest.

Commons as manifested collective unconscious.

A collective which expands beyond control,

Metamicromacro patterned Being.

Who can we be in times of crises?

“Seeds lead into sparks who speak.”
Another audio recording, erased.
My tech game is weak.
I sang
and my words went unheard

Waking up to consciousness & waking up to climate.
Micro-climates and macro-climates, the conditions discovered there; boundaries of separation. Otherness.
Discovering the otherness with each other,
our irresolvable paradoxes unfold into complex emergence.

A work of art.

What did your infinite being come here to explore?
Every pleasure corresponding to a pain.
What is your obligation to the other?
What love, power, beauty…

How Perennial Endings Shape a Permanent Culture — and Why That Matters

Art by Edgar Ende (pun unintended)

This essay is written as a response to the second book in my social permaculture reading list: Ends, by Joe Macleod.

A multi-faceted inquiry which addresses the overall inadequacy of closure experiences in most business models today, this book is an interesting study into a pattern of our culture which (at least in the structure of today’s mainstream world) gets pretty awkward at the stage where one life cycle comes to its inevitable completion.

On many levels, the subject of completing a life cycle resonates with the quest of a social permaculture designer.

Cultivating new social systems, starting from the values of earth care, people care and fair share, asks us to create compost out of the aging beliefs and practices…

The Conditions for Growing Peace

You are about to read Part 1 of a 10-part series exploring the relevance of Open Space Technology (OST) to Social Permaculture Design.

This piece sets the tone for Self-Organization as a key mechanism in a design practice which emphasizes the eventual redundancy of the designer.

Stay tuned for these subsequent parts as they unfold:

  • 2: Systemic Thinking, Feedback Loops and Emergence
  • 3: The Problem is the Solution
  • 4: The Map is not the Terrain: Design as a Skill of Creative Response
  • 5: Boundary Management
  • 6: Integration, Death and Transformation
  • 7: Minimal Interventions
  • 8: Appropriate Tools
  • 9: Small & Slow…

Making Space For a New Story

How to find the right question?


Start at the end.

What is going, what is going to be? What is? What since?

How could you ever know?

If you plant it, it will grow.

Reflect upon the landscape.

Like a dream

How the light and the water move

Across the horizon between spaces

Above the earth and below the sky

Which stage is the moon?

And where have you been
Or what has changed since you last asked the question?

Here. nowhere. Everything.

Anywhere that has a centre.

Now. Open.

Still Tuning in.

— Answers (and/or questions)
to guestions I get about
doing, going, being, and becoming.

The ones I give

Naomi Joy Smith

Invoking wisdom & generosity, playing with permaculture in tech. Into weaving, tea, music, patterns & cultural evolution. What questions are living within you?

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