Changemaker Strives Towards Business Sustainability

31 October 2018

Meet Juan Sebastián Cárdenas Salas, one of our many inspiring Changemakers. His consultancy aims to harmonise the fractures between human economics and natural ecology by viewing them within one interconnected system.

Seeing businesses in a new light

Juan is an evolutionary activist, Changemaker and current student of the Gaia Education Design for Sustainability (GEDS) e-learning programme, living in Medellin, Colombia.  Close to finishing the programme, Juan has inspirational ideas for how he will apply a Whole Systems approach in developing his Organisational Development (OD) Systemic Consultancy, JscInteractivo.

“The conversations and leanings I’ve absorbed through the program have been meaningful both towards my formation as systems thinker/Changemaker/cultural creative/evolutionary leader and activist, and in giving shape to the JscInteractivo’s approach.”

On his path to Changemaker, Juan spent 15 years working in marketing and corporate communications. Through this, he discovered a disconnect between the ‘being’, ‘doing’, and ‘saying’ of businesses based on prominent economic systems and for the past 6 years he has been exploring ways to overcome this disconnect. Coupling skills taken from his experience with the GEDS programme with realisations he developed whilst completing a Capra Course (2017), Juan will apply a whole systems approach to business consultancy, placing ecology at the centre and viewing businesses as living “beings” rather than “brands”.

“I have been diving into both human/social sciences and ecology—or a science of the whole, better known as the whole systems approach—as an accomplishment to understand organizations as living, conversational, reflexive, and interdependent entities, i.e., as organisms that alike other inhabitants of Earth (The Oikos or Household we belong) are frequently grappling with ecobiopsychosocial conditions.”

Ecology before Economy

Juan sees economics as inseparable from ecology. Because of this Juan believes ecology not economics should drive business priorities. This is what JSCInteractivo aims to achieve. Through a series of actions, JSCInteractivo will recognise a business’ essential need, its influence over its surroundings and its ‘Ecobiopsychosocial’ capital. Ecobiopsychosocial is an approach developed by Juan which places the four capitals (as conveyed by Ecological Economics: Environmental, social, cognitive and human) as deeply interconnected. This holistic conversation encourages a process of learning, growth and transformation. In harmonising businesses with other species on the planet, JscInteractivo’s systemic Ecobiopsychosocial approach encourages the evolution of economics towards a regenerative, sustainable process.

“By the time we situate ecology instead of economics as the crux of our priorities, we’ll have a hope of being truly homo sapiens reciprocans rather than homo economicus (or selfish hominids). Ecology and economics share the same root, which is the Oikos, the Eco, the Household, our Planet Earth/Water. Therefore, economics must honour ecology. By means of a generative economy rather than extractive, we can soar appropriate technologies for producing renewable energy and thus have faith of ‘someday’.” (Taken from Juan’s Ecological Dimension – Module 4 reflection)

View from the cattle farm Juan is working to convert into an a centre for learning and teaching in “San Pedro de las Milagros” a rural region in Antioquia, Colombia.

Looking to the future

Juan also looks to use his realisations from the GEDS programme to assist him and his partner Claudia in renovating an old cattle farm into an ecologically sustainable home. In the near future they hope to create an ecovillage, fostering cooperative work and ecological research.

“So I’m right here, right now to keep connecting dots on the collective mind we’re shaping –not only here in Gaia Education but the whole transition movement all over the world– regards as an urgent and meaningful purpose: A cultural evolution towards a regenerative human presence on Earth.”

We wish Juan the best of luck in all his endeavors.

If you would like to learn more, become part of the conversation at JscInteractivo.
Find out about our Design for Sustainability courses here.

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