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And if we can’t agree, we won’t have a plan, right?

By Susan Grove

 It’s not the conversation I’m expecting to have with my mechanic. Here to pick up my car after an oil change, a question about synthetic oil prompts him to describe how inefficient and dirty combustion engines are. This is a bit of a surprise, because he seems way more sold on electric engines than when I first started bringing my hybrid here some years back. But what really catches my attention is when he starts talking about the infrastructure that would be needed to really transition to cleaner cars. In his view, the technology is in place, so what we need is a plan. And then he says: 

“And if we can’t agree, we won’t have a plan, right?” 

A light bulb switches on in my head and I think to myself, he’s talking about deep democracy. The kind of democracy that  includes periodically voting for governmental representatives, and so much more. The kind of democracy in which we participate and have a voice and influence in decisions – like investing in infrastructure for a clean energy future – that affect our lives, communities and shared home, the earth. The kind of democracy that acknowledges injustices and commits to social equity. And last but not least, the kind of democracy that supports us in navigating the differences and disagreements that inevitably arise, even when we are committed to participatory and inclusive decision making.   

If you’re thinking “sounds nice, but pretty impossible to imagine in reality,” allow me to paint a picture of a path from here to there that gives me hope. Most of us spend most of our time working. Which means our workplaces and collaborations can be laboratories for learning and practicing skills aligned with deeply democratic ways of governing ourselves. What if more and more of us were practicing participation and inclusion day in and day out? Might not the new set of expectations we generate and the aligned skills we develop influence the direction we are heading in? What if the next time my mechanic expresses doubt that we can collectively shift toward an economy that’s regenerative, I’m able to confidently reply: a plan can come together, because we now have ways of reaching agreement on the decisions that matter to our common future?

Join us as we explore these questions and develop opportunities to practice deep democracy, together. GWI actively trains, facilitates, and coaches those who are hungry for more generative and equitable ways of working together.

Articles and personal reflections from the GWI team as they navigate their lives and their shared work.

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