A Geoversity and TEEM Innovation Group Initiative

The TEEMLab Creative Ecotone

with Dr. Tamsin

“Without intact cultures we are cats without claws, trying to get by in the world missing a limb: an entire species mostly severed from the lands and cultures our ancestors painstakingly accumulated over tens of thousands of generations.”

The TEEMLab Creative Ecotone aims to awaken the imagination, creativity, hope and energy required to do the work of regeneration in the Colorado Desert

This is “sustainability”—

More of an art than a science, knowledge is developed and transmitted through culture—the special human adaptable superpower that only emerges in diverse collaboration.

Most of us are now living feral, as fragmented people forcibly assimilated into an efficiency machine.

MORE ABOUT THE COLORADO DESERT

Introducing The TEEMLab Creative Ecotone

Across-disciplinary environment where diverse ideas and beings mix and mingle for regenerative inventiveness a place where art, design, mythic enchantment and ecological knowledge come together, connecting diverse minds for better futures

The TEEMLab Creative Ecotone seeks to catalyze a fundamental paradigm shift, from mechanistic design to Living Systems Thinking and Design in all we do.

MORE ABOUT MACHINE MIND VS. PATTERN MIND

The Ecotone intends to offer:

1
Living Systems Immersions

Where innovative minds can experience, develop, and share ideas like Biomimicry, TEEMING principles for collaboration, PROSOCIAL for governance, Biophilic and Organic Design, Regenerative Design frameworks, Mythic story, Art, Design, Tracking, Ecological Knowledge, and Applied Naturalism, including permaculture and integrated design.mmersions

2
Interdisciplinary art-ecology residencies

Where creatives can do deep focused work and cross-fertilize

3
Ecotone Camping Memberships

To experience the joy of caring for biodiverse habitat in the Sonoran Desert in a deeper way, renewing relationships with its beings, becoming re-enchanted, re-entangled, reclaimed by old stories that connect us to the land, its creatures, and one another

The Ecotone is conceived as a Buckminster Fulleresque “Black Mountain College” meets Quail Springs Permaculture or Occidental Arts & Ecology Center - a living laboratory for reclaiming our human role in the living systems we are part of.

MORE ABOUT THE ECOTONE

YOU + The Ecotone

Join us on this journey for biocultural renewal and help us acquire this magical Ecotone!

Be part of our community of individuals joining together to discover, create, and explore biocultural regeneration.

Restore the spring’s surface flow, giving birds like the Swainson’s Hawk a place to stop on their way to places like Geoversity’s Mamoni Valley campus in Panama.

Help reestablish old Kumeyaay trails (With their participation) and bring their now feral trails back to order.

Experience the joy of caring for a place in a deeper way, while renewing relationships with its beings, becoming re-enchanted, re-entangled, reclaimed by old stories that connect us to the land, its creatures, and one another.

Join the work of re-designing structures, systems, processes to align with our nature as living beings, and help regenerate cultures that renew ecologies that feed our children’s children in a thriving future.

The Challenge
Welcome to the Colorado Desert

At the far western end of this expanse lies Anza-Borrego, the driest region of this vast desert. Tucked into the most remote corner of San Diego County, a geologically lively transition zone crosses 6 active faults between mountains and desert to produces a confluence of mountain springs and streams and accumulated granitic sediments for a rich, ancient and ocotillo-covered bajada fed by water from higher elevations. The Ecotone offers a rare oasis in this stark and unforgiving land.

Today the Kumeyaay’s ancient wild gardens are overgrown and feral. Tamarisk and mustard invade, while the spring retreats below ground.

You can see what happens when we stop our human work (as the recurring wildfire crisis in California and Australia attests).

Like the brush along these trails, most of us are now living feral, as people forcibly assimilated into the modern efficiency paradigm.

Growing human capacity requires regenerating cultures of adaptability—“Biocultural Renewal” requiring focused immersion, practice, and mentorship in diverse forms of art, science, and story, all rooted to the land and its beings.

The Vision
What’s really stopping us from thriving in today’s world

These days we generally try to manage complex issues by forcing oversimplified and rigid top-down solutions on them, using a great deal of energy, resources, and labor.

The structures we live in are designed for efficient production, not resilience and inventiveness—and when one component is maximized, it pulls other nodes out of balance. 

This is how civilizations rise and fall.

Time for Transformation: Machine Mind to Living Mind?

Monolithic and mechanistic solutions sap our natural adaptivity, turning us into unhappy worn out parts—living beings forced into hyper-efficient machines that pump out goods while eroding our ability to care, dream, and create. Our prevailing structures are inhuman, contrary to our very nature as living beings and people. 

We’ve left so much potential on the table.

Introducing Pattern Mind

Adaptive design requires experimentation, tinkering, pattern knowledge and expertise—because leverage points are rarely obvious in a complex system.

Earth’s seasons, the laws of gravity and thermodynamics, continuously shape the form and function of energy and matter at every scale. These regular flows produce deep patterns, from cells and ecosystems to the canyons left by ancient rivers or the network of synapses in your brain.

These patterns hold for us, as well—our bodies, communities, and endeavors—because we are creatures too, part of this living world. Regenerative Designer Joel Glanzberg speaks of Pattern Mind—our ability to see and design with these persistent patterns. 

Humans are naturally resourceful, inventive, clever, insightful, designed to collaborate, cultivate, and care for other living things and each other. We have always survived by our wits and will—humble, creative, and persistent.

All living things are designed by and for this chaotic world, surviving and thriving for billions of years, through five major extinction events.

Our endeavors grow, adapt, learn, heal, and evolve in an open-ended, self-organizing process. New capabilities emerge, radical new possibilities open.

Life is exquisitely complex, unique, adaptable, and interdependent—inherently resilient and inventive.

In fact, most of the world’s ecologies are not really wild—they’ve been tended by human beings for many tens of thousands of generations.

People have always worked together to stimulate diverse future opportunities, select preferred partners, and reduce catastrophic disruption.

I think of this as true sustainability—balancing energy and matter in dynamic equilibrium while “surfing for free” on them. This is a collaborative process, involving every living being. 

These designs require experimentation, tinkering, pattern knowledge and expertise—leverage points are rarely obvious in a complex system, and it’s more of an art than a science.

Humans co-evolve through a special human superpower that that only emerges in collaboration between unique individuals—culture, a highly flexible collective memory of ways to close the gap between what is and what could be. Culture is the source of our human adaptability in a changing world.

But thousands of years of hierarchical living have eroded our capabilities—we no longer have the skills our ancestors once had. Migration, extraction, suppression—without intact cultures we are cats without claws, struggling to get by in the world missing a limb—an entire species mostly severed from the lands and cultures our ancestors painstakingly accumulated. 

Most of us are now living feral, as fragmented people forcibly assimilated into an efficiency machine.

The Resolution
The TEEMLab Creative Ecotone aims to change that

Greater freedom, more meaningful relationships, more purposeful work. Things that matter to us and our families and communities. More wholeness, integration, creativity, aliveness, humanity. We want to be whole, alive, not parts in a machine or insects pinned to a board.

The TEEMLab Creative Ecotone aims to catalyze a fundamental paradigm shift, from mechanistic design to Living Systems Thinking and Design, in everything we do and create.

I think we are starved for something more.

What holds us back from this? Weak purpose, a lack of belonging, care, or freedom. A lack of expertise or design skills—an undeveloped Pattern Mind.

  • A failure of imagination, creativity, play, and curiosity.
  • A lack of enchantment and connection—loss of mystery, awe, and the sublime.
  • Lack of humility and respect, tolerance for ambiguity, contradiction, and plurality.
  • Failure to question whether things could be otherwise
  • The imposition of false simplicity, with stereotypical and generic thinking, atrophying critical thinking and care.

All erode potential. But most of all we forget our existence lies within a chaotic tangle of linked and nested streams. Real change occurs at the level of paradigm and process—the nature of our thinking and the way we work together.

The answer is becoming more human, not less

Credibility & Alignment
The Canyon Itself

Discover our vision for the TEEMLab Creative Ecotone

Imagine a Buckminster Fuller-esque Black Mountain College meets Quail Springs Permaculture Center—where creatives can do deep focused work and cross-fertilize with other lively minds. Interdisciplinary art-ecology residencies, living systems immersion and design, cross-fertilizing to create something purposeful for our world while living joyfully in it…a place where teeming minds can actively experience the leading edge of evolution unfolding around them.

Living Systems Immersions… experience, develop, and share ideas like Biomimicry, TEEMING principles for collaboration, PROSOCIAL for governance, Biophilic and Organic Design, Regenerative Design frameworks, Mythic story, Art, Design, Tracking, Ecological Knowledge, and Applied Naturalism, including Permaculture and Integrated Design.

  • Revitalize and rehumanize our way of life
  • Cultivate more equitable, authentic, inclusive expression of diversity
  • Renew and regenerate fragmented cultures; 
  • Re-align structures and processes around regenerative potential; 
  • Grow systems that increase in vitality, capacity, and resilience.
  • Inspire, empower, & grow ecosystems of purpose-driven folks

Get Involved

Help us restore the spring’s surface flow, giving birds like the Swainson’s Hawk a place to stop on their way to places like Geoversity’s Mamoni Valley campus in Panama.

With their participation, reestablish old Kumeyaay trails and bring their wild gardens to new order.

Experience the joy of caring for a place in a deeper way, while renewing relationships with its beings, becoming re-enchanted, re-entangled, reclaimed by old stories that connect us to the land, its creatures, and one another.

Join the work of re-designing structures, systems, processes to align with our nature as living beings, and help regenerate cultures that renew ecologies that feed our children’s children in a thriving future.

Partners:

Potential offerings, November through April:

  • 6 bell tents, shaded solar-powered enclosable personal work structures (cabanas) with water, hammock, etc. Living Building Design.
  • Shared/shaded/ enclosable ramada with work spaces/equipment
  • House and barn. Print-making, kiln, lab, exhibit spaces
  • Sculpture garden
  • Immersions (capped at 18) $2000/person. Dr. Tamsin and Guests.
  • Art-Ecology Residencies $1000/week all inclusive. Communal meals, campfires, storytelling, dance, movement, and acoustic music. Share your gifts!
  • Off-site parking. Human-powered transport.
Please contact DrTamsin@TEEMInnovationGroup.com to inquire about being a Founding Member of Ecotone and/or donations.

Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker

Founder and Principal, TEEM Innovation Group, LLC
Dean, Geoversity’s School of Biocultural
Leadership in Panama

Tamsin is the author of TEEMING: How Superorganisms Work to Build Infinite Wealth in a Finite World, an Amazon Bestseller in Organizational Learning and Environmental Economics, as well as Ecology and Animal Behavior—testament to the lively ecotones biomimics inhabit. She is an internationally known thought-leader in the emerging field of Biomimicry, and this is regarded as the seminal work on “Biomimicry in Business”

Tamsin began as a biologist—studying plant form and function in California’s redwood-filled Santa Cruz mountains; backpacking the Hawaiian Islands; obsessing about sociobiology under legendary evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers; and working as a live-aboard marine mammal observer in the Bering Sea as the only woman on a crab boat with 25 fishermen. Her profits took her to the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands—where she immediately forgot her aversion to boats. She earned her doctorate in Biological Anthropology, working alternately in a genetics lab and a tent in the Ethiopian desert, obeying the whims of a motley assortment of hybridizing baboons. This was the longest running and most extensive genetic study of any wild primate for many years—a model for addressing questions around altruism and social cooperation, human speciation and gene introgression among our early human ancestors—and is still widely cited today.

After two decades in business—as a biotech scientist, then as a serial entrepreneur with several businesses in photography, as a scientific subject matter expert for GRI corporate sustainability reporting, a copywriter and content developer, and an executive leadership coach for scientists making the jump to C-suite, today her company TEEM Innovation Group provides organizational design and innovation consulting for some of the world’s biggest and most innovative companies.

Dr. Tamsin’s is focused on catalyzing a fundamental paradigm shift from mechanistic design to Living Systems Thinking and Design in all human endeavors. To that end, she is the Dean of Geoversity’s School of Biocultural Leadership in Panama, Chairs David Sloan Wilson’s Evolution Institute Business Action Group (leading the effort to design evolutionary curricula for business schools nationally with Ethical Systems founder Jonathan Haidt), and is a headline thought leader for the Growth Institute—the premier education platform for mid-cap entrepreneurs, and a frequent fixture at Conscious Capitalism.

Preorder The TEEMING Transformation here, join us for GeoSchool at Geoversity in Panama, or reserve a spot in TEEMLab’s Living Systems Immersions at the TEEMLab Ecotone in San Diego’s gorgeous Anza-Borrego Desert!