Page 1



© St Luke’s Innovative Resources and Ian McBurney 2014


Ian McBu r ne y

40 Cards For Building Conversations Towards Sustainability

Innovative Resources is a not-for-profit publisher and bookseller; all sales support the child, youth, family, and community services of St Luke’s Anglicare


First published in 2014 by:

St Luke’s Innovative Resources 137 McCrae Street BENDIGO Victoria 3550 Australia Ph: 03 5442 0500 Fax: 03 5442 0555 Email: Website: ABN: 99 087 209 729 © Ian McBurney & St Luke’s Innovative Resources 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. ISBN: 978 1 920945 70 1 Project development by: Ian McBurney, Russell Deal & Karen Masman Edited by: Karen Masman Illustrated and designed by: Mat Jones


Dedication For Claire and my family for making me feel six feet tall. To the memory of Carolyn Rawlins: Carpe Diem

Acknowledgements These cards were inspired by Paul Hawken, David Suzuki, Jane Goodall and Frank Ryan, ecological sustainability pioneers who have been clearly and passionately spreading the word about our place on earth for many decades. I would also like to acknowledge the input and ideas from Nigel McGuckian, Ann Lansberry, Kevin DeVries, my educator parents, Roger and Mercia McBurney, and the constant encouragement and imagination of Tadhg McBurney, aged seven. It has been a pleasure to work with, learn from, and grow with, the team at Innovative Resources in the development of this product. Mat Jones is a superb illustrator, Georgena Stuckenschmidt— a great business partner, and Russell Deal—a brilliant mentor and guide. The editing process with Karen Masman has been a career highlight. Karen’s wisdom has enabled me to re-imagine my work—confirming my thinking, changing my thinking, deepening my thinking and clarifying my message. She’s a gem. These cards would probably still be a dusty draft on the shelf without the encouragement, knowledge and input of my co-working colleagues at Synergize: the Bendigo Coworking Hub. What a rocking place to work.

iii 3

Thank You! This card set was made possible by the support of the following kind and generous people who supported our crowd funding campaign on ‘Pozible’ from July through September 2013.

iv 4

L aura

ie ch La

Clare Fountain Ror y Flanagan Lynch Sa r To Phuong Francis Ryan Quach Ann a Hill eB S Anon y ymo us ien Linda H Lyn Mark Boulet Ja Trudi Ray icke Net iek Karen Cor y her r Le Joh Anonymous cot Virgin Ann Lansberr y Sue Masters e a nM ia l il L h o Anonymous Julie Grundy a u C is ilki h G e n e Jo McDonald Jones al ns Tim Gentle J Joanie O’Brien vin Anon ymo us Nina Bailey Matt Anonymous Masons of Bendigo McDo onymous An nald Bern & Brian Ronchi Linda Beilhaz Kate East Robert Kretschmer Judith Alcorn Catherine Wilby Emily Physick O’Malley Anonymous David y Caroline Overbeek Kia rne Sm Bu ith Mc Roger & Mercia Glenda Verrinder Kati Thompson Stephen Cahill Anonymous Deb Allan Ellen White Michele Martin Peter Mead ald Felicity Dent Jen McQueeney Tania Macdon Anonymous Anonymous Karin Anonymous Sarah Kinsella Raoul Abrutat Haven; Home, Safe ight Christopher Wr Lisa Thompson Cecile Shanahan Anne Martinelli Laura Bird Anita Dickons David Pugh Louise Jiricek Phil Smith & Ann Flanagan Kate MacRae Ruby Lohman Lisa McDermid Tom McBurney Fiona Armstrong Anonymous ng Jennifer Alden Patricia Armstro Chris Kirtley Anonymous Brent Sullivan Bill G Tania Sherwood ior ra o n z z ig Stephen McBurney Vincent ge e la S Anony nt o ic id v N Mud Cahill mous Da B Kate mily i rne E By r ck n o Ni Jane Horn Annemaree Docking t r s e e in t S r r he r a nM a toinette Dana Leah Adria City of Greater Bendigo K Maxine Plant An y Bryley Savage elle s rd K Wa u e nis o De Shaun Rosaia Anonym C m T y s ou n ym o on ous An Paul Murphy S An heridan orden Bird Chr Jodi Duivenvo Blunt lie Linda Duffy ar Ch is C Tara Halliday Scott Purdon Lisa Mariah oug Blackburn Lake hlan ke Anonymous o o C Colin Lambie Sue Kim Knersch an Rafferty Lucy Carew-Re Se id Renee Purdy th mi

Contents Dedication. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii Acknowledgements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii Pozible Supporters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv From the Publisher: Two Kinds of Footprints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi From the Author: The Power of Conversations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii Introduction to the Cards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 The Thinking Behind the Suits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 The Complete Array of Cards.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Taking Care Before You Begin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Getting Cards Into Participants’ Hands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Some Ideas for Activities


About the Author: Ian Mc Burney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 About the Publisher: St Luke’s Innovative Resources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Sources, Links and Further Reading. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

5 v

From the Publisher: Two Kinds of Footprints The greatest danger to our future is apathy.’ Jane Goodall

Our colleagues in the world of solution-focussed therapy and coaching talk about how important it is to minimise the ‘footprint’ we leave on the lives of clients. By this they mean that the aim of therapeutic conversations should be to build and celebrate the strengths, expertise, planning and decision-making skills of clients. The emphasis should be on treating clients with optimal dignity by maximising their capacity for self-determination rather than the human service worker demonstrating their own cleverness, expertness, skills and resources. It is interesting that this metaphor about needing to ‘minimise our footprint’ is used in a different way to the more commonly used application—that of our impact on our physical environment. Is there a connection between the two uses of the term ‘footprint’? At St Luke’s Anglicare we believe there is, although it may not be self-evident. Our understanding of what it means to ‘impose a minimalist footprint’ with clients is built around the aim of building the client’s long-term sustainable resilience and health to the point where there is no further need for support from professionals in the ‘helping services’. In environmental and ecological domains, ‘sustainability’ and ‘resilience’ are key words for identifying what is needed for our earth to continue as a healthy planet. We know that the maxim ‘There are no jobs on a dead planet’ is literally true. We also know that the environmental and ecological degradation indicative of an ailing planet hurt the poor, disadvantaged and dispossessed in a much more immediate way than they do the wealthy and powerful. In this very real sense, ecological conversations such as those encouraged by the Talking ecoLogical cards lead us naturally into the realm of social justice—the core territory of the work of St Luke’s Anglicare.

vi 6

At St Luke’s we work day in, day out with individuals, families and communities who are doing life tough. We know that these clients and communities will be increasingly and disproportionately disadvantaged as the issues arising out of climate change, extreme weather events, carbon emissions, pollution and reduction in potable water capacity continue to advance. Many organisations share these concerns about the environment. Many have taken much more dramatic and decisive steps than we at St Luke’s have to reduce their ecological footprint. But it is important to at least be on the path towards a minimal ecological footprint. One small way St Luke’s has aided this journey has been to coin the phrase ‘Green Justice’ to help ensure the relationship between ecological concerns and social justice is maintained as a priority in policy and in practice. The Talking ecoLogical cards have grown out of this commitment to building Green Justice, thanks to author, consultant and educator in the subject of ecological sustainability, Ian McBurney. Ian has made a significant contribution towards helping St Luke’s reduce its environmental footprint over the last five years or so. Ian is a passionate facilitator, teacher, motivator and creative. He has worked diligently over several years with Innovative Resources to develop and refine his idea for a set of conversation-building cards that any individual, team, community or organisation might pick up and use to help think through a host of ‘footprint’ issues. Being minimalist with any conversation-building card set takes an inordinate amount of time and the Talking ecoLogical cards are no exception. It has been a pleasure working with Ian and Karen Masman, our consulting editor, as the cards have slowly evolved into a set that is engaging, challenging, informative—and what’s most important—capable of generating hours of passionate conversations. What, at face value, may look like a significant departure for St Luke’s Innovative Resources from our traditional style and content of cards sets, is, in fact, deeply rooted in St Luke’s values of strengthsbased practice. I trust these cards will be a small step towards helping reduce our footprints—in both senses. Russell Deal Creative Director, St Luke’s Innovative Resources

vii 7

From the author: The Power of Conversations Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. In fact, that’s the only way the world has ever changed.’ Margaret Mead

Welcome to Talking ecoLogical! The first version of these cards was created for a workshop I ran in 2007. They were hurriedly put together, had gaping holes, looked horrific and had many grammatical errors. But the funny thing was, people loved them. They loved being able to have a conversation about sustainability rather than being lectured about it. They loved how our impacts on the earth were given equal weight in the conversation to identifying how change happens. They loved imagining what a sustainable future might be. Best of all they loved talking about the whole issue with each other. Together, they said they gained understanding about sustainability and what needed to change. The cards encouraged them to articulate this understanding. I thought I might be onto something. In my experience, humans ‘get’ sustainability but our institutions do not. Globally, governments have been very busy failing to agree on how to fix our environmental problems for over thirty years. Yet whenever I work with real people in manufacturing, communities, schools and local government, they all seem to get it: Respect each other. Respect the place. It ain’t rocket science. I think there are three reasons why we haven’t yet created an ecologically-sustainable society. Firstly, we still haven’t imagined what a sustainable future is. What is it like to live in an ecologically-sustainable world? What would the economy be like? What would it feel like to walk around in such a world? What about other benefits like health, wellbeing and community? Is a sustainable future a better place to be?

viii 8

Many of us have changed the light bulbs and done the other little things, but we haven’t yet changed our dream. We’re still buying into the ‘consumption equals success’ thing, even as the evidence mounts against it. Secondly, I believe that a lot of people—many older, powerful business people among them—still subscribe to the outdated idea that ‘environment’ is anti-progress. With a global green economy of $7 trillion, the growth of the sharing economy, renewable energy, carbon pricing, sustainable design, fairtrade and the world-wide push towards energy-efficient housing, cars and appliances, the direction of the economy has shifted. Yet governments worldwide are propping up the old economy; funding freeways, banning wind power, subsidising fossil fuels, bowing at the temple of economic growth and turning sustainability into wickedly complex policy and dumbed-down rhetoric. So while individual people understand the need for change, our institutions are holding back the wave of change. Thirdly, we think the answers are about information and technology when change is about people and culture. The key, I believe, is to change our culture. The building blocks of culture are connection, interaction, participation and conversation. I would argue that these are skills we have been losing as we tune into screens, sit in cars, live in more private houses and work in hierarchical organisations. In 1999, fresh out of environmental engineering I landed a job working on a sustainability business project with twenty-five automotive manufacturers in northern Melbourne, Australia. I loved the factories and their community, productivity, challenges and work ethic. They were all Mums and Dads like the rest of us. Safety, quality and occupational health and safety were all the rage and they were brilliant at using these tools to improve their businesses. ‘Environmental impacts’ were just beginning to come into focus. We helped them with all the ‘little things’. They recycled, they switched off lights, they changed cups, they improved processes, they put together registers of all their environmental impacts and they all saved money. The funny thing was they were all still making V8 cars, management never heard about sustainability and when the passionate or informed people left, so did the progress. Where was the vision? Where was the plan? Where was the transformation? Renowned corporate responsibility and sustainable development expert John Elkington, has likened our sustainability progress to moving the deck chairs on the titanic while accelerating towards the iceberg.

vii ix 9

Imagine if the car companies had taken their small sustainability steps and used them to re-imagine their business model and their products. Car sharing, pooling and swapping; electric vehicles; hybrids; smart car technology; sustainable design; recyclable, non-toxic materials and alternative fuels would all be common practice now. Our institutions and our politics are, I believe, largely ecologically illiterate. Politicians talk about saving whales and reducing plastic bags while approving new coal mines. CEOs add a workplace tree planting day to the back cover of a financial annual report and call it their social and environmental bottom line. Local councillors talk about the ‘balance between protecting the environment and development’ as if they are in a mutually exclusive fight that the environment regretfully has to lose. The media still trumpet money, power, fame and consumption as contiguous with success. And then there is the media hype around single issues. Solar panels, climate change, plastic bags, orangutans and water tanks all are really important, but there is so much more to creating a sustainability-led economy and society than that. The topics raised in all 40 of the cards in Talking ecoLogical attempt to widen the scope of this conversation and are all of equal importance, in my opinion. We are coming to realise that creating a sustainable future requires us to change much more than the light bulbs. We need to change almost everything about who we are. But it’s not about living in a cave; it’s about making life better than it ever was—more liveable homes, communities and cities; healthy buildings, networked and local energy, food systems and economies. My hope is that the conversations arising out of using this card set will help us to move to a place where we can be driven by the urgency of our challenges AND the beauty of our dreams…and, along the way, be buoyed by the social connectedness that comes with positive cultural change for sustainability. Ian McBurney Sustainability practitioner and author

10 x

Introduction to the Cards ‘The best way to predict the future is to design it.’ Buckminster Fuller

Who are the cards for? Talking ecoLogical is a set of 40 cards that can be used by anyone wanting to open up reflection and conversations about environmental sustainability. They can be used for team building, personal reflection, journalling and creative writing, evaluation and assessment, goal setting and planning, research and organisational change. They can be used by people in a myriad of roles including: • • • • • • •

Sustainability managers Small business owners Educators and facilitators Teachers, schools and students Business Green Team members Sustainability practitioners and consultants Local government environment officers

• • • • • • •

Local councils and clubs CEOs and executives Landowners and custodians Architects and town planners Change management Local communities Wilderness and park managers


The 40 Talking ecoLogical cards are arranged into four suits.

Elements on the cards On the front of each card you will find: • the name of the suit • a topic heading • a referenced statement • a question • a quote. Each element on the cards is intended to offer a prompt and add richness to the discussion. A user of the cards may be drawn to one or more of these elements—and the facilitator can invite people to focus on a particular element, or a particular sequence of elements, if desired.

The four suits The name of the suit gives participants a broad context for the discussion. The four colour-coded suits are: • • • •

Elements of Identity. Five cards. Blue. Imagining the Future. Eleven cards. Burgundy. The Challenge. Seven cards. Orange. Processes of Change. Seventeen cards. Green.

(For more information about the suits, please see the section called ‘The Thinking Behind the Suits’.)

The topic heading Each of the 40 cards features a topic heading to provide a clear focus for the discussion. This may be a single word such as ‘Belonging’, ‘Consumption’, ‘Economy’, ‘Dreaming’ and ‘Transport’; or it may be a phrase such as ‘Guide beside’, ‘Ten-year plan’, and ‘Quiet times’. The topic heading on each of the five cards in the ‘Elements of Identity’ suit is a whole sentence for example, ‘We are water’ and ‘We are life’.


The referenced statement During the development of the cards, we experimented with removing some of the elements on the cards to see just how minimal they could be, but we found that a certain level of nuanced input greatly improves the confidence of participants in building conversation. For example, many of us are new to some of the topics of sustainability covered in the cards (such as ‘biomimicry’) so the referenced statement beneath each topic is there to provide some simple, easily-understood information about the topic. Participants can use this information as a springboard for discussion. The sources of these statements are referenced in the back of this booklet.

The question To spark the conversation even more, there is a question beneath each statement. As the ‘Curiosity’ card suggests, we think questions can often be more powerful change-makers than answers. And, as our perspective changes, the same question can elicit a different response at different times. For this reason, re-visiting a question many times can be a very fruitful practice. There are, of course, many questions that could be asked for each card. After countless hours of discussion and consideration, we landed on what we hope is an intriguing question that will provide a powerful window into the topic. Taken across the whole set, you will find an array of questions that invite reflection and conversation about meaning, choices, definitions, steps forward, ideas, observations, values and plans. Please feel free to frame your own questions.

The quote I have been a ‘collector of inspiring quotes’ for many years. The quotes on the cards have been chosen because I think they are intriguing, uplifting and useful and, in most cases, because the person quoted is a world-leading thinker in their field. The quotes open yet another interesting window into the topic or illumine the question in different ways. Sometimes a participant may respond to the quote more readily than any of the other elements, or the quote may give them a clue about the meaning of the topic or another way of thinking about the statement. In this way, all the elements can build on each other and add layers to the conversation.


Here are the names of all the people quoted on the cards, so that you can be further inspired by their talks, books and websites. • Ray Anderson • Janine Benyus • Wendell Berry • Rachel Botsman • Nicholas Christakis • Bill Clinton • Jacques Cousteau • Peter Dombrovskis • Frank Fitzgerald-Ryan • Anatole France • Buckminster Fuller • Malcolm Gladwell

• Jane Goodall • Clive Hamilton • Umair Haque • Paul Hawken • Annie Leonard • Richard Louv • Amory Lovins • Ian McBurney • Margaret Mead • Michael Pollan • Shannon Rogers • Arundhati Roy

• Carl Sagan • Ismail Serageldin • Alan Shepard • Ernst ‘Fritz’ Shumacher • David Suzuki • John Todd • Lao Tzu • Leonardo Da Vinci • Aunty Lilla Watson • Alan Watts • Edward O Wilson • William Butler Yeats

‘Variable, forecastable renewables (wind and solar cells) are very reliable when integrated with each other, existing supplies and demand.’ Amory Lovins


The Thinking Behind the Suits ‘We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.’ Jacques Cousteau

Elements of Identity: Who are we? There are five cards in this suit, and they invite people into conversations about our identity as human beings. I think of these as the heart and soul of the card set. I believe that if we truly understand these concepts we can drop the rest of the cards, head off and change our worldview forever. These cards challenge two all-pervading cultural memes in our society. The first, made popular by the industrial revolution, is that the environment (or the planet) is separate from us, our organisation, our economy and our lives. The second arises out of a single line from Genesis; we have been attempting to ‘subdue’ and ‘have dominion’ over the earth. The truth is that Indigenous peoples and modern science are largely in agreement about our interconnected, interdependent and symbiotic relationship with the earth and its natural systems.

‘Life creates conditions conducive to life. It cleans air, builds soil, cleans water, creates the complex mix of gases that we need to live. Like the rest of life on earth, we must find a way to do the amazing things that we do, while making of this place an Eden.’ Janine Benyus


Imagining the Future: Where do we want to go? There are eleven cards in this suit. They invite people to imagine their preferred picture of the future. Starting with a hopeful picture of the future is a fundamental tenet of strengths-based practice. What are we seeking? What do we want our future to look like? If we do not know where we are going, how will we get there? Someone wise once said that if we want the villagers to build us a ship, we should not show them how to use a hammer, but fill them with longing for the wonderful faraway places over the sea. We have now spent forty years arguing about how bad our environmental impacts are. And most of us have changed the lightbulbs. We’ve done the little things. But I believe that we have not spent nearly enough time imagining the future that we want. What would human civilisation look like if it was not bad for the earth, but good? Would that excite us? If our picture of a sustainable future was truly inspiring, wouldn’t we want to strive to get there? The ‘Imagining the Future’ cards are dreamings. They are not facts, but possibilities. They are, however, a pretty good reason to get out of bed in the morning! The statement on each of these cards has been written in the present tense—as if the desired outcome is already a reality. This is a way of ‘languaging’ that is often used by counsellors, therapists, social workers, educators, mentors, leaders—and by storytellers since time immemorial. It helps us to project ourselves into the future as if it is a lived reality in the present. In this way it engages us dynamically in experiencing the goal as a real possibility and an enduring motivation for change.


The Challenge: What challenges are we facing? These seven cards are based on bleak facts. We clearly have a problem. As Al Gore put it so plainly a few years back, when confronted with the bleak truth about our environmental impacts, people are psychologically inclined to move to a state of either denial or despair. We, of course, need to be enacting and enabling change in the middle somewhere. Our species evolved to move to the next place when conditions became too harsh. Our global society has no such luxury and our minds struggle to comprehend that the changes have to come from every place on earth. There are two analogies that can perhaps assist us in understanding our plight. The first is that when our doctor tells us that we are going to have a heart attack, we should listen and then change our diet and get active. The second is that our civilisation is currently on the titanic. Our big ship can’t turn easily, but we can see the iceberg. We can either choose to continue on or adjust course. There are also powerful forces at play to convince us that everything is ok. The world’s richest organisations are fossil fuel companies with $21 trillion to lose if we stop using their product. Our economy views clean air, water and soil as ‘economic externalities’, or parts of the economy that have no value. We bow at the temple of economic growth while living on a planet of fixed size with finite and diminishing resources. The global marketplace has outsourced manufacturing, and therefore waste and pollution, to the third world (where those in the first world cannot see it). Our wild places have been so damaged, broken up and separated from our cities that many of us have lost connection, understanding and the ability to see that they, and therefore we, are becoming impoverished. Water still flows from our taps from somewhere. We flick a switch and our lights come on and the greenhouse gas emissions are released hundreds of kilometres away. Our waste goes into the bin and the truck takes it away, somewhere. None of the labels in the shops tells us what toxins are in our products and what impacts they may have on our health. ‘The Challenge’ cards invite us to openly and honestly explore the relationship that these issues have to our lifestyles, our choices and culture.


Processes of Change: How can we create sustainable change? There are 17 cards in the ‘Processes of Change’ suit. This is the largest suit in the pack! These cards invite us to have conversations about how to enable and encourage change. Each of the cards names a key factor in creating sustainable change. I believe that these are the missing links in most environmental programs. We are good at naming impacts and goal setting. I believe that we have all the technology we need to change the world. We have enough information. So our challenge is to change our culture. A good example is energy savings in our buildings. A third of the possible savings are to do with the design of the building, a third with the appliances in the building. But a further third of potential energy savings depends on the behaviour of the people who use the buildings and the appliances. So changing or enhancing our cultural norms, behaviours and values can reduce the bill by a third, but it can then move on to influence the appliances we buy and the buildings we build. These are the important cards if we want to create a sustainable future. It is not enough to know, to dream and to plan. To embed a new way of thinking and behaving we need to make lasting changes in our own lives and enable and inspire those around us. That is going to take a lot of conversations. These cards give us an opportunity to identify some of the key factors in bringing about sustainable change. And here is a bonus: The ‘Processes of Change’ cards can just as easily be used for having conversations about any kind of change—change in your community, your club, organisation, business, team, school, or even family. The secret is that they can be a little stand-alone card set within a card set. If you want to bring about lasting change in your organisation for health, safety, quality, productivity or whatever reason, the processes of change cards will offer some valuable factors to discuss and incorporate into your planning.


The Complete Array of Cards Elements of Identity – 5 Cards

• We are air • We are life • We are soil • We are sunlight • We are water

Imagining the Future – 11 Cards

• Buildings • Community • Design • Energy • Food • Prosperity

• Trade • Transport • Waste • Water • Wilderness


The Challenge – 7 Cards

• Biodiversity • Climate • Consumption • Economy • Resources • Toxins • Water cycle

Processes of Change – 17 Cards • Accountability • Belonging • Be the change • Blessed unrest • Curiosity • Dreaming • Guide beside • Hip pocket • Human scale


• Interruption • Kitchen table • Outside • Quiet times • Ten-year plan • The little things • The Sacred • Together

Taking Care Before You Begin ‘Life creates conditions conducive to life. It cleans air, builds soil, cleans water, creates the complex mix of gases that we need to live. Like the rest of life on earth, we must find a way to do the amazing things that we do, while making of this place an Eden.’ Janine Benyus

Of course, no hands-on conversational tool works for everyone. Each of us has our own personal taste in language, metaphor and illustrative style. Even when great care is taken, the resource or activity simply may not work for a particular group or individual. At times, the most light-hearted or innocuous-looking visual prompt can contain huge potency for people and cause all sorts of powerful emotions to tumble out. In using any conversational prompt it is always important to be aware of this potential impact. We can all be caught by unexpected revelations in our conversations, and adopting a position of ‘taking care’ often requires that thought be given to the following: • The facilitator’s own comfort with the cards. Does the resource work for you? Are you comfortable using it for your own reflection? Can you imagine introducing it to colleagues, family and friends? • Your knowledge of the materials. Are you familiar with the cards? Do you need to use all of the cards or are there some you can leave out? Have you used cards before? What did you discover? • Your knowledge of your clients or audience. Does your knowledge of the culture, age and literacy of those you are working with suggest that they are likely to relate to the cards? Are you comfortable taking the risk that the cards may not work as you anticipate?


The safety of the setting. Do you believe you have created a ‘safe space’ for people to talk openly and honestly? If you are introducing the cards to a group, what are the dynamics and mood of the group? Is there respect in the group? Is the timing right? Have ground rules such as listening and confidentiality been established? Have you thought about how you will enable people to ‘pass’— that is, to feel free to decline an invitation to share or comment, if they wish? What if the cards elicit strong emotions? If this happens, how will you help ensure that people are cared for during or after the session?

• Valuing people’s own interpretations. Have you thought about how to support people’s own interpretations of meaning while keeping the door open to consider other possibilities? • Your expectations. How do you imagine conversations will flow? What if something different happens? Do you have an alternative plan if something isn’t working? • Inclusiveness: How will you help ensure that ‘quiet voices’ in a group are heard?

‘There are over 100,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today. Only a handful of these have even been tested for human health impacts.’ Annie Leonard


• Setting the context. Have you thought about how to best introduce the cards? Do you want to introduce them with a particular activity? Or will you simply leave the cards on a table or shelf (or a notice board) where clients might find them and begin a spontaneous conversation? • Time management: Have you allocated enough time for each activity? How will you conclude an activity while ensuring that each person has had their turn to contribute? • Evaluation: What do you think constitutes ‘successful’ or ‘unsuccessful’ use of the cards? How will you find out what worked for participants? • Follow up: Is there any follow up that you will do with the individual or group? •

Human Scale: Our modern corporate world is full of minutes, agendas, hierarchy, reports and incomprehensible phrases such as ‘outcome-focussed, parameter-driven, focus-grouped packages of measures’. Asleep yet? Ok, the point being that we are human and we respond to deep human stuff. Before using these cards, consider a human touch you might add. A room with a view out a window? Natural light? Fresh air? Music as people enter? Cake and tea? Space for real connection and conversation at the beginning? Stories? A walk outside? A ball to roll or throw? A collection of funny hats?


Getting Cards Into Participants’ Hands ‘If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.’ Aunty Lilla Watson

Once you have considered all the factors involved in creating a respectful setting, it is time to think about how you will invite participants to engage with the cards. While there are a myriad of creative ways for doing this, in general, they all fall into two broad methods.

1. Spread, Scan and Select Firstly, there is the method known as ‘Spread, Scan and Select’. Using this method, all or some of the cards are spread face up on a flat surface and participants are invited to scan the cards and make a selection based on a question. For example, facilitators could ask: ‘Can you choose a card that describes something important to you?’ or ‘Is there a card that jumps out at you for some reason?’ (You will find many possible questions later in this booklet). Sometimes spreading the cards on the floor in a variety of ways (a circle, a grid, a spiral or a pathway of cards) or pinning them to a wall can create a different dynamic. Participants are invited to walk around, between, in front of, or along the display of cards. Moving around means they are engaging their bodies during the process of selection. Movement causes the brain to engage in different ways, and this can open up learning and reflection in all kinds of creative ways. The amount of time allowed for scanning the cards can vary enormously. Generally, the more complex the cards and the more reflective the activities, the more time is needed. As always though, it is preferable to move at a pace that works for the participants. As in any therapeutic conversation, managing the available time well is an important skill, and a purposeful selection of cards can be more appropriate than using the whole set.


2. Random Selection The second method for getting the cards into people’s hands is sometimes called ‘Random Selection’ or ‘Serendipity’. Very valuable learning occurs when a touch of random choice is introduced. This method includes such activities as shuffling and dealing the cards or placing them face down on a surface so participants select a card without knowing what is on it. Another activity is to fan the cards out face down, and invite participants to randomly select a card (‘Pick a card, any card!’) You can also play a range of games that involve hiding and finding cards such as lucky dips, cards placed randomly n chairs, hiding cards around a room, selecting a card with eyes closed, swapping cards with the person on your right, and so on. These methods introduce an element of play that really gets people talking in all kinds of delightful ways. Participants often discover fresh perspectives and meaning in cards that come into their hands randomly.

‘First, I worry about climate change. It’s the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it, and make a lot of the other efforts that we’re making irrelevant and impossible.’ Bill Clinton


Some Ideas for Activities ‘The best way to predict the future is to design it.’ Buckminster Fuller

Apart from making every effort to use the cards respectfully (as outlined in the section called ‘Taking Care Before You Begin’), there are no rules for using the cards. As you experiment with the cards and become more familiar with them, you may well come up with a range of favourite activities. Sometimes facilitators come back to a particular activity again and again because they find it really works for them in opening up dynamic conversations, no matter who the participants may be. Sometimes an idea for an activity will come from a participant in a group or from watching other facilitators at work. Sometimes, you will be in the middle of an activity, and an idea for extending or varying the activity will naturally present itself. Experienced facilitators will be very familiar with this exciting and dynamic dance of being prepared, and yet being open to spontaneous changes in the moment. New facilitators may want to practise one or two simple, timed activities that they feel comfortable introducing and managing with others. Whether you are an experienced facilitator or embarking on introducing a card set for the first time, below are some activities to spark your imagination. Facilitators are warmly encouraged to adapt the activities to suit the needs of the group, taking into consideration the size and purpose of the group, as well as such things as participants’ levels of energy and literacy. Each of these activities can create a dynamic group conversation buzz, has no experts, and allows everyone to be both a teacher and a learner. Whether you use the activities presented in this booklet or invent your own, the author and publisher of this card set believe that conversation-building activities work well when they value each person’s contribution, engender curiosity and encourage the spirit of discovery.


With this in mind, facilitators may want to include comments that indicate we are all teachers and learners on the sustainability path and that these are intended to be positive conversation-building activities, not tests with right and wrong answers. The ‘Processes of Change’ cards offer great reminders of values such as ‘be the change’; ‘be the guide beside, not the sage on stage’; ‘inspire curiosity’; ‘foster togetherness’; ‘create human scale’; ‘allow quiet reflection’.

Getting Started Purpose: Helps create a greater understanding of sustainability and change while providing a ‘getting to know you’ activity. Card selection: Spread, scan and select. Activity: Select a card and talk about why you chose it, or ask each participant to introduce themselves or their organisation using the card they selected.

Serendipity Purpose: Helps to create a greater understanding of sustainability and change while providing a’ getting to know you’ activity, with a touch of theatre. Card selection: Random choice. Dramatically shuffle the cards and ask participants to: ‘Pick a card, any card!’ For larger groups, ask them to form into small groups and appoint a shuffler for each group. Activity: Invite participants to discuss what the card means for sustainability and change.


Concentric Circles Purpose: Provides a great introduction to the card set and allows people to meet others in a group. This activity also demonstrates through conversation that there are lots of aspects to the sustainability journey and that people are at different stages of the journey. Card selection: Spread, scan and select or random choice. Activity: For this activity everyone holds a card and forms two concentric circles (one inside and one outside). Each person from the inner circle pairs up with a person from the outer circle. Ask the group to introduce themselves, and then have a conversation based on the following questions: – ‘What do you think your card is about?’ ‘What does it mean to you?’ – What do you think it means for your organisation, business, community or family?’ After three or four minutes of conversation (judge the level of energy in the room) ask the inner circle to move around one person in a clockwise direction (the outer circle stays where they are) and repeat the conversations and questions with a new person. After three minutes repeat again. By now, with three different conversations about their card, participants’ understanding of the topic of their card is likely to be deepening. Repeat the movement until at least five conversations have taken place.


Meet and Greet Pathway Purpose: Brings people together at the beginning of a workshop, introduces them to the card set, and engages the body (walking and standing rather than sitting). Card selection: Random choice. Activity: Place the cards in a line on the floor as people enter an event. Ask everyone to form two lines on either side of the cards until each person is facing someone else. Pair up, look down and choose the nearest card. Invite the pairs to introduce themselves to their partner; find out who they are, where they are from, why they are here and ask the question: – ‘What does your card mean to you and your organisation?’

Under the Chair Purpose: Creates a fun way to start conversations with those sitting nearby. Card selection: Random choice. Activity: Place a card under or on each chair before people arrive. Invite each person to find their card and spend a minute reading it. Ask them to form pairs with someone sitting nearby, and introduce themselves using their card and the following question: – ‘What does your card mean to you, your community, or your work?


Imagining the Future Purpose: Inspires people to dream big about what our society could become and provides excellent fuel for the sustainability journey. Card selection: Spread, scan, and select—using only the ‘Imagining the Future’ cards. Activity: Invite everyone to choose an ‘Imagining the Future’ card that excites or inspires them. Invite them to find a partner and have a conversation about that future using such questions as: – ‘What is close to your heart? – ‘Let’s leave the impossible talk behind today and imagine yourself there… What does it look and feel like?’ – ‘Is it better than today? Why?’ – ‘Does it excite you?’ – ‘What changes will have been made?’


Guided Meditation Purpose: Encourages participants to picture a desired future vision and explore that ‘realm’ within their imagination, thereby giving their vision greater reality. If desired, this guided meditation can be used to build on the activity above. Card selection: Spread, scan, and select—using only the ‘Imagining the Future’ cards. Activity: With participants sitting quietly, invite them to step into the world of their future vision. You can use words such as the following to guide them: – ‘Despite all the quotes about reality having been first dreamt, we do not often allow ourselves to stop and dream. When was the last time you stopped and dreamed?’ Let’s change that today. Close your eyes and let’s take a stroll down a sustainability street of the future ...’ Pause. – ‘Imagine your home or workplace creates excess renewable energy, collects, treats and celebrates its own water flows, has eliminated the concept of waste and now produces nutrients for up-cycling into industry or the soil.’ Pause. – ‘Imagine your home or workplace creates habitat for local native plants and animals, produces fruit and vegetables, celebrates natural light and air flows, releases oxygen, sequesters carbon and gains insulation from the living roof.’ Pause. – ‘Imagine, walking, cycling and electric transport are the main forms of transport as our local places are designed for people and human connection. The buildings and the people in and around them are completely connected to local place and culture. Imagine wild places in our cities of aesthetic delight and wonder.’


– ‘Goods and services come from an effective and inspired local economy that is about growth; growth of what is good—such as human and ecological health, connection, diversity and delight. This entire vision is possible now and all elements are happening this minute somewhere across the world. Pause. – ‘Take a walk down a street in this future. Be there for a few minutes.’ Pause. – ‘What do you notice? What does it feel like? Look like? Smell like?’ (Pause in silence for 2 to 3 minutes.) ‘When you are ready, open your eyes again.’ Facilitator’s can then ask participants to describe what they experienced, what stood out for them, and what they think this may mean for their picture of the future.

‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ Arundhati Roy


Where Are We At? Purpose: Serves as an evaluation tool for measuring progress in sustainability. This activity can be used at the end of any other activity with the cards. Card selection: Spread, scan and select or random choice. Activity: At the end of any activity using the cards, facilitators can invite participants to evaluate and discuss where they think their organisation is at regarding the topic on the card. Using a long table or the floor, ask participants to place their card on a scale from ‘doing well’ at one end to ‘needs improvement’ at the other. What usually happens is that only a few cards end up at the ‘doing well’ end. (The ‘Little Things’ card, for example, usually ends up here.) Facilitators can then ask questions such as the following: – ‘So where are we at on the journey?’ – ‘Would anyone like to say why they placed their card where they did?’ – ‘Does anyone think a card is not in the right spot?’ – ‘Can we use this activity to create some focussed next steps?’ – ‘How can we move further up the scale?’ – ‘Is there something simple we can do right away?’ – ‘Who can help?’ – ‘How will we know when we get there?’ – ‘What are our challenges? – ‘What are our opportunities?’


The Great ‘Most Important Card’ Debate! Purpose: Deepens conversation and analysis of the importance of different steps on the journey in a fun way. It also shows the breadth of the task. Card selection: Assign each small team one suit of cards. Activity: Introduce the debate by saying something like the following: ‘Your mission, in your small teams, should you choose to accept it, is to debate and decide which card in your suit is the most important for the journey to sustainability and why. Spend five minutes developing your three arguments and deliver them debate style. The other teams will be debating that a card from their suit is more important.’ After each team has delivered their arguments, facilitate rebuttals and discussion.

‘Biomimicry is the conscious emulation of life’s genius. How has nature done what we want to do?’ Janine Benyus


Gaps Audit Purpose: Identifies the main chapters for a sustainability action plan, evaluates progress, and defines working areas for an annual sustainability plan. Card selection: Spread cards in a grid on a large table. Activity: Let participants know that the complete set of Talking ecoLogical cards represents key aspects of creating a sustainable organisation, and that this activity can be used to create a sustainability action plan. Invite participants to work through each card in turn and discuss whether their organisation is doing it well, needs improvement or hasn’t yet begun. Facilitators can use such questions as: – ‘What are we doing well?’ – ‘What do we need to improve?’ – ‘Have we started this yet?’ – ‘What will we do in the next twelve months?’ – ‘Where will we start?’ – ‘What will be some key milestones along the way? A scribe can map the discussion on a whiteboard or butcher’s paper to determine the main areas for action by the team or organisation this year.


Solo, Pairs then Group Presentation Purpose: A way to help develop articulation and presentation skills. Card selection: Spread, scan and select or random choice. Activity: Mention to the group that when we reflect silently, then discuss in pairs, we often come to a more fully thought-out and more confident position that assists with a larger group discussion. Ask participants to spend five minutes reading and thinking about their card. Then ask them to pair up with someone close by and discuss two questions: – ‘What does the card mean for you?’ – ‘What does it mean for your organisation?’ Each person then presents their ideas about their card and the two questions to the whole group. The facilitator may also ask, ‘What can we discuss together about each card?’

The Present and the Future Purpose: Helps bridge the gap between the present situation and our future aspirations. It also allows people to put ‘The Challenge’ cards in perspective and think through solutions. Card selection: Spread, scan and select using only ‘The Challenge’ and the ‘Imagining the Future’ cards. Activity: Invite participants to find a partner and together choose a ‘Challenge’ card and an ‘Imagining the Future’ card that they both think go together. Discuss using questions such as: – ‘What does this challenge mean to us? To our organisation?’ – ‘Is this challenge already changing the way we work and live?’ – ‘What would the future card mean for us and our organisation?’ – ‘How do we move from our challenge to our preferred future?’ – ‘Are we already solving this challenge or aspiring to move to this future?’


Culture Change Purpose: Offers a way to move the discussion from the problems and the answers to the processes of change. Helps develop skills in enabling and inspiring change around us. Card selection: Spread, scan and select using only the ‘Processes of Change’ cards. Activity: Introduce the idea of cultural change. You may want to mention that information and knowledge alone do not change the world—it is only when our culture embraces the change that it becomes normal. Invite participants to choose a card, pair up and discuss questions such as: – ‘Using your card, how might you have a conversation with a colleague about a sustainability matter, like switching off computers or adjusting the thermostat?’ – ‘What does your card mean for changing your organisation’s culture?’ – ‘How ready is your organisation for change?’ – ‘How well is your organisation doing in terms of the topic on your card?’ – ‘What further skills do you think are needed by you, your team or your organisation to bring about the change?’ – ‘What do you think are the some tipping points for the change to become the norm in your family, organisation or community?’

‘People living in walkable neighbourhoods are healthier, happier, more trusting and more civically involved.’ Shannon Rogers


Belonging to Place Purpose: Encourages the understanding that there is no separation between ourselves, our health and the health of the natural world. Card selection: Spread, scan and select using only the ‘Elements of Identity’ cards. Activity: Let participants know that these cards offer opportunities to think about how we see ourselves, about life and our place on earth. No small ask! Invite participants to choose a card and spend five minutes reading it, and thinking about its meaning. Ask participants to take five minutes in small groups or pairs to discuss the meaning of the card in their lives and work using questions such as: – ‘How might this understanding change the way we work?’ – ‘How might this understanding change what we do at work?’ – ‘How might this understanding change how we see ourselves at work?’ – ‘Does the card represent an inspiring notion or a scary challenge to you?’ Each person then has five minutes to develop a one-minute presentation to the group about their card and its meaning for them, both professionally and personally.

‘Sustainability Street; it’s a village out there! A new reason to be neighbours! Together we can share veggies, tools, cars, bikes, skills and worms.’ Frank Fitzgerald-Ryan


Sustainability Assessment Purpose: Offers a way to assess our environmental impacts. Participants can begin developing an organisational action plan or environmental management system, such as an environmental aspects register. Card selection: Spread, scan and select using only ‘The Challenge’ cards. Activity: Invite participants to form five small groups and choose one ‘Challenge’ card to discuss, think through and brainstorm, using questions such as: – ‘How are we as an organisation contributing to this challenge via our impacts on the earth?’ – ‘Can we create a list of our impacts relating to this challenge?’ – ‘What challenges do we have to overcome to minimise and then remove our environmental impact in relation to this topic?’ Once the purpose of this activity have been recorded the group can then research, cost and determine which projects to work on, giving consideration to such things as when, how and who.


Building our Team Purpose: Using the ‘Processes of Change’ cards, this activity helps build change-oriented practices into meeting agendas, processes and plans. Card selection: Spread, scan and select or random choice using only the ‘Processes of Change’ cards. Activity: Invite each person from the team to choose a card or cards, or find a way for cards to be distributed randomly, such as being dealt. These cards are then used to discuss ways to strengthen your team or organisation. Some questions may include: – ‘Could we build a meeting agenda that includes this process of change?’ – ‘What systems and symbols at work could be enhanced by one or more of the processes of change cards?’ – ‘Which cards show processes that our team does well?’ – ‘Which cards show processes that our team could prioritise?’ – ‘Can you match a card for each person in your team?’ – ‘For a particular project we have coming up, which cards will be key processes for us in the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the project?’ – ‘Which cards show what you think you bring to the team?’ – ‘Which cards show what you would like to do more of in the team?’ – ‘Which cards show processes that your organisation tends to focus on?’ – ‘Which cards show processes that your organisation doesn’t seem to include?’


Research and Report Purpose: Builds personal and group understanding of sustainability and change via research, reflection and reporting. Card selection: Spread, scan and select or random selection (such as working through a stack of cards) Activity: Create an activity to get cards into participants’ hands—such as asking them to deliberately select a card they are interested in, or randomly dealing each person a card. Then suggest a variety of activities they can do individually or in pairs such as: – ‘Use the internet to research the quote on your card and create a bio of the author’s work.’ ‘Research the topic and report back to the group.’ – ‘Focus on the statement on the card. What do you know about it? Do you agree with it? What is challenging or exciting about it? Research stories or relevant facts about this statement and present to the group.’ – ‘Create a development program based on the gaps in your knowledge.’


Get Creative! Purpose: Builds personal and group understanding of sustainability and change, and creates connections with others and deepens engagement via creative writing and journalling. Card selection: Spread, scan and select or random selection. Activity: Invite participants to choose from a variety of creative activities such as: – ‘Write a song, a poem, a story, an essay, a blog, a letter to the editor, a postcard, a speech, a blog or a facebook posting based on your card.’ – ‘Create a collage, painting or drawing based on your card.’ – ‘Create a website or newsletter featuring your writing on topics from the cards.’ – ‘Write a series of journal entries or create a scrapbook based on a series of cards.’ – ‘Write the lyrics of a song based on your card or cards.’ Invite participants to share their creative pieces with others, if they feel comfortable doing so. You can also consider posting these creative pieces on a joint website, or on a wall or noticeboard in your organisation or school, provided you have the permission of all contributors.

‘When you go out into nature you don’t get away from it all, you get back to it all. You come home to what’s important. You come home to yourself.’ Peter Dombrovskis


Scoping a Sustainability Plan Purpose: The aim of this activity is for participants to scope and design a sustainability plan for their home or organisation. Many people consider creating a one-year plan. While this is very useful, it is also important to consider a longer-term vision. Significant cultural change can take time. Card selection: Spread, scan and select. Activity: Invite participants to select cards based on the following: ‘Elements of Identity’ cards: Invite participants to review and discuss each of these cards using questions such as: – ‘Do we understand the wider context of our organisation?’ – ‘Have we thought deeply enough about how our organisation fits on the earth?’ – ‘If we were to fully embrace the statements on these cards, how would things change?’ Use the answers to these questions to create a mission statement for your organisation. ‘Imagining the Future’ cards: Spread out the cards and ask participants questions such as: – ‘Does your organisation have a sustainability vision or goal?’ – ‘If so, select cards that represent key aspects of the vision or goal?’ – ‘Are there other cards would you like to see included in that vision?’ – ‘If you or your organisation does not currently have a vision or goal for sustainability, can you select cards that you would like to see as significant elements in your desired organisational vision or goal?’ – ‘Would it be useful to prioritise these?’ – ‘Or are they all of equal importance?’ – ‘See if you can identify significant areas of agreement amongst your team or group.’ Use the answers to these questions to create an organisational vision for the future. You could ‘mind-map’ the discussion on a white board, record on butcher’s paper or have a scribe record and feedback the discussion.


‘The Challenge’ cards: Select cards that say something about the environmental impacts you think you or your organisation are making. Follow up with questions such as: – ‘What are you are currently doing to reduce these impacts?’ – ‘Are these activities working?’ – ‘How might you be even more effective?’ – ‘Are there significant gaps or things you would like to be doing more of?’ Create a list of actions for your organisation to minimise its impacts on the topic for each card. – ‘What is the action(s) for each card?’ – ‘How will the action be completed?’ – ‘By when?’ – ‘Who is responsible?’ – ‘What is the priority?’ Use this list to create an action plan in spreadsheet form.

‘If somebody said before the flight, “Are you going to get carried away looking at the earth from the moon?” I would have said, “No, no way!” But yet when I first looked back at the earth, standing on the moon, I cried.’ Alan Shepard


‘Processes of Change’ cards: Following the activities above, ask participants: – ‘How do we move from our impacts to our vision?’ – ‘Which cards point to processes we do well?’ – ‘Which cards point to processes we can do more fully?’ – ‘Can you share any examples you have observed or experienced of these processes working well?’ – ‘What kinds of activities might we introduce in the near future to create or support these processes?’ – ‘How do we get these activities happening?’ – ‘What will be the milestones on the way to our vision?’ – ‘How will we know when we have achieved our vision?’ – ‘What is the time frame we are anticipating?’ – ‘Who can help?’ Use the answers to these questions to add cultural-change actions to the action plan. How you plan to reach your destination is just as important as what you do. You could facilitate a group discussion on the best ways to change or enhance your organisational culture. Have a scribe write down the actions and priorities. Obviously, creating a fully-fledged sustainability action plan is a much larger undertaking than this activity. The cards can help scope, define and direct the plan and the journey towards an action plan. Careful notes and mind maps can be pulled together and circulated for further comment.


About the Author: Ian McBurney ‘Change can occur when we’re deeply human and engage the heart though stories, values, passion, feelings, fun, play, conversations, music, art, theatre and togetherness.’ Ian McBurney

Ian McBurney is an ecological sustainability author, speaker, facilitator, consultant and educator. He founded his company, Live Ecological, in 2006 and has inspired thousands to change towards sustainability in businesses, communities, government and manufacturing. In 2002, he met Frank Ryan of Vox Bandicoot fame (one of Australia’s leading environmental education companies). He followed Frank around, soaking up his wisdom. Ian spent five years as a director at ‘the Vox’, delivering an environmental theatre program to 10,000 students, a communitybased education program called ‘Sustainability Street’ to 150 communities, and workplace culturechange training to 6000 people in manufacturing and local government. Ian has a degree in environmental engineering from RMIT University and helped found the Bendigo Sustainability Group in 2007. He is on the board of the Sustainability Street Institute and has been instrumental in creating and organising a wide range of sustainability events and initiatives. Ian happily married Claire in 2004 and is the proud father of Tadhg, Tara and Kieran. He habitually quotes Spike Milligan, barracks for the Collingwood footy club, does magic tricks, is a retired cricketer and has been to the beach at Inverloch every summer with a bunch of cousins for 34 years. You can connect with Ian as follows: Twitter: Facebook: Website:


Linkedin: Email:

About the Publisher: St Luke’s Innovative Resources ‘The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all.’ Wendell Berry

St Luke’s Anglicare is based in Bendigo, Central Victoria, Australia, and runs numerous social service programs for children, youth, adults, families and communities. As the publishing arm of St Luke’s, Innovative Resources creates and publishes card sets, books and stickers that are steeped in what is known as ‘the strengths approach’. The strengths approach is a way of being and working with others that highly values the inherent strengths that already exist within every person, as well as those strengths that can be developed along the way. It focuses on hopes, possibilities and what is working well rather than on problems and deficits. The strengths approach holds the view that it is from our strengths that we can grow and learn most effectively; and that our strengths and those of others can provide ways forward in times of trouble and challenge. It was the desire to create a simple set of cards for naming and talking about strengths that gave rise to Innovative Resources’ very first publication, now over twenty years old—Strength Cards. Innovative Resources has since published over 60 original ‘tools’ that can be found in the kit bags of counsellors, teachers, trainers, social workers, managers and parents throughout Australia and in many other countries around the world as well. The team at Innovative Resources continues to be fascinated by the power of cards sets and other handson tools to open up conversational pathways about strengths, goals, values and feelings.


With the publication of Talking ecoLogical, Innovative Resources extends its range of conversation-building materials into an emerging aspect of social justice: ecological sustainability. There is a growing awareness that environmental impacts like climate change affect the disadvantaged in ways that those with more resources may be insulated from—at least for a while. This card set is for individuals, families, communities, businesses and organisations to have conversations about environmental sustainability and to picture a future that can be an inspiration and a motivation for change. To learn more about St Luke’s, please go to:

To learn more about Innovative Resources or to order a catalogue, please go to:

‘Everything we do affects not just ourselves and our friends and families…but also dozens, or hundreds and sometimes possibly thousands of other people.’ Nicholas Christakis


Sources, Links and Further Reading This booklet is available online with live links: The intention of this section is to offer sources and links for the statements that appear on the cards from three of the four suits, and also to provide further reading for those who wish to delve deeper. The three suits sourced are ‘Elements of Identity’, ‘The Challenge’, and ‘Processes of Change’. The fourth suit (‘Imagining the Future’) does not need to be referenced as these cards imagine a future vision rather make claims of fact. Because the topic of ecological sustainability awakens strong passions and perspectives, you will undoubtedly be able to source differing views and claims from those expressed in these cards. The intention of Talking ecoLogical is to stimulate conversation and even if someone wildly disagrees with some of the information that appears on the cards, we hope this will be a source of lively and useful exchange. Elements of Identity Autoimmunity Research Foundation (2012). Microbes in the human body. Retrieved from Body water (2013). Retrieved from The breath of all green things (2013). Unit 8: The sacred balance. Retrieved from The George Mateljan Foundation (2013). How healthy nutrition builds health, starting with the cells (Graphics). Retrieved from Human physiology/cell physiology. (2013). Retrieved from (6th ed.) (pp. 183-204).


Rinzler, C., & DeVault, K. (2013). The human digestion process (or, what happens after you eat food). Retrieved from Suzuki, D. (2008, May 16). The challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the real bottom line - Part 3. The Epoch Times, Retrieved from Turnbaugh, P. J., Ley, R. E., Hamady, M., Fraser-Liggett, C. M., Knight, R., Gordon, J. I. (2007). The human microbiome project. Nature, 449(7164), 804-810. Water cycle (2013). Retrieved from The Challenge Arthus-Bertrand, Y. (Director). (2009). 4-minute theatrical trailer for Home [Film]. Retrieved from: Brown, L. R. (2006) ‘Emerging Water Shortages’ in Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. Washington: Earth Policy Institute. Retrieved from dana1981. (2013). A Glimpse at Our Possible Future Climate, Best to Worst Case Scenarios. Retrieved from Global warming (2013). Grafton, R. Q., Pittock, J., Davis, R., Williams, J., Fu, G., Warburton, M., Udall, B., McKenzie, R., Yu, X., Che, N., Connell, D., Jiang, Q., Kompas, T., Lynch, A., Norris, R., Possingham, H. & Quiggin, J. (2013). Global insights into water resources, climate change and governance. Nature Climate Change 3, 315-321. Retrieved from Howard, V. (1997). Synergistic effects of chemical mixtures--can we rely on traditional toxicology? The Ecologist, 27, 192-195. Retrieved from


IUCN Red List (2013). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2013). Summary Statistics. Retrieved from Kingsley, M. (2012). Passionate about Protecting the Future of Our Childen [sic]. Retrieved from Overfishing (2013). Priggen, E. (Producer), & Fox, L. (Director) (2005). The story of stuff. [Film]. Retrieved from Ruz, C. (2011) The Six Natural Resources Most Drained By Our 7 Billion People. The Guardian Environment Blog. Retrieved from Steady state economy (2013). Retrieved from United Nations Environment Program (2011). Keeping track of our changing environment: From Rio to Rio+20 (1992-2012). Retrieved from Welcome to the Anthropocene. (2012) The Great Acceleration. Retrieved from Wong, C. M., Williams, C. E., Pittock, J., Collier, U. & Schelle, P. (2007). World’s top 10 rivers at risk. Retrieved from World Bank (2012). New Report Examines Risks of 4 Degree Hotter World by End of Century [Press Release]. Retrieved from

Young, J., & Sachs, A. (1994). The next efficiency revolution: Creating a sustainable materials economy. Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute.


Processes of Change Blumer, H. (1939) Collective Behavior. In R. E. Park, ed. An Outline of the Principles of Sociology. New York: Barnes and Noble. Bodman, D. (n.d.) Shaping Directions: Inside Out Leadership. Collins, J. C. & Porras, J. I. (1996), Building Your Company’s Vision. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from Community Development Theory (2013). Dalsgaard, A. M. (2012) The Human Scale [Documentary]. Copenhagen: Final Cut for Real Davis, J. (2004) Psychological Benefits of Nature Experiences: An Outline of Research and Theory with Special Reference to Transpersonal Psychology, Naropa University and School of Lost Borders July 2004. Retrieved from Denning, S. (2012) In Praise Of Stretch Goals. Forbes. Retrieved from Ecotrust. (n.d.) Human Scale Neighbourhoods. Retrieved from Ekstrom, V. (2012) China’s pollution puts a dent in its economy. MIT News. Retrieved from Engel, S. (2013). The case for curiosity. Creativity Now! 70(5), 36-40. Retrieved from Environment Business Australia. (2005) Externalities: harming environment, health, and economy. In D. West and M. Hogarth, Extended Producer Responsibility. Boomerang Alliance: Sydney.


Goodreads (2013.) Pale Blue Dot Quotes. Retrieved from Gridley, H., Astbury, J., Aguirre, C. & Sharples, J. (2010) In the Middle of the Sound: Group singing, community mental health and wellbeing. Building and Planning: The University of Melbourne Refereed E-Journal, 2(1). Retrieved from Hallowell, E. M. (2001) Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul. New York: Gallery Books. Hatfield-Dodds, S. (2004) Economic Growth, Employment and Environmental Pressure: Insights from the Australian experience 1951-2001. Working Paper to ANU Environmental Economics Network. Retrieved from Hawken, P. (2009) The Commencement Address by Paul Hawken to the Class of 2009, University of Portland. Retrieved from UofP_Commencement.pdf Hawken, P. (2007) Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement In the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming. New York: Viking Press. Heick, T. (2012) Why Questions Are More Important Than Answers. TeachThought Blog. Retrieved from Hocking, C., Ray, S. & Day, T. (2006) The Guide Beside: Assisting you to facilitate sustainable futures now. A summary of the outcomes of Stage 1 of the Professional Development for Sustainability Facilitators project, Victorian Association for Environmental Education. Melbourne: Department of Sustainability and Environment. Retrieved from Key%20Reference%20Documents/4.%20Victorian%20Documents/Guide%20Beside%20VAEE%20DSE.pdf


Interface Corporation. (n.d.) Our Goals, Our Vision. Retrieved from Kaplan, S. (2000). New Ways to Promote Proenvironmental Behavior: Human Nature and Environmentally Responsible Behavior. Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 491–508, doi: 10.1111/0022-4537.00180 Nalder, D. A. (1993) Concepts for the Management of Organizational Change. In C. Mabey & B. Mayon-White, eds. Managing Change (2nd ed.) London: Paul Chapman Publishing. Nature Connectedness(2013). Nisbet, E. K., Zelenski, J. A., & Murphy, S. A. (2009) The Nature Relatedness Scale: Linking individuals’ connection with nature to environmental concern and behaviour. Environment and Behaviour, 41(5), 715-740. Order (2012). Pale Blue Dot. Retrieved from Rowson, J. (2012) The Power of Curiosity: How Linking Inquisitiveness to Innovation Could Help to Address Our Energy Challenges. RSA Social Brain Centre. Retrieved from Transformative Learning (2013). Samuels, M. & Samuels, N. (1975) Seeing with the Mind’s Eye: The History, Techniques and Uses of Visualization. New York: Random House. Sense of Community (2013). Ulrich, R. S. (2002) Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals. Paper presented at Plants for People, International Exhibition Floriade. Retrieved from White, F. (2012) The Overview Effect: Astronauts’ Unique View of The Earth and What We All Can Learn From It. Retrieved from


Talking ecological booklet