As an activist in climate change, are you wanting tools that will help you have conversations with your friends and neighbors who are NOT "already woke"? Kitchen Table Conversations is a great tool!

Conversations about climate change and other environmental trends can be complicated. To enable people to keep track of the conversations we use labels printed on beer coasters. People can see each element of the conversation as it progresses. The idea came from a professional stage magician; he said that people like to have physical objects to hang ideas on. People like them.

Catalysing mass commitment to transformational change presents the main ideas. You can see one of the main modules here.

Kitchen Table Conversations

  • A free PDF can be downloaded here.
  • The softcover book can be purchased here.
  • Templates for making the models are here.
  • A premade Kit can be purchased here.

The print version is in black and white. The free PDF version has live links and full color graphics; it may be better value. it is handy to get the Kit with pre-made pieces.

Kitchen Table Conversations help people create a mental framework for grasping the massive changes we need to make to have the hope of a positive future. We are, literally, enabling people to expand their thinking. It’s kinda fun!


Here is a sample email. Of course, you can tweak it in your own way.




It is valuable to have an overview. So we suggest that you read Understanding Whole System Change and Applying Design Thinking to Large-Scale Social Change for an in-depth orientation. Then decide how you will participate, and get started.

Succinct overview of the Great Transition Initiative

These provides a quick introduction to the Great Transition Initiative.They can be used as the basis for a quick pitch to knowledgeable people.


Understanding Whole System Change

The changes required to transition to a life-affirming global culture are so comprehensive that we call it a whole system change. It is about changing the operating character of our whole society.

At first the idea changing the operating character of a whole society can seem overwhelming. But here we make it mentally manageable in a way that supports practical action.

This explores the operating principles of a life-sustaining society, and presents a simple diagram that highlights the big picture factors that must change to reverse human inputs to global warming and other big issues.

Applying Design Thinking to Large Scale Social Change

This outlines the Great Transition Initiative strategy for reaching a critical mass of mainstream people.

□  Steps to Engaging People in the Great Transition Initiative

Tools for personally communicating to your networks

Some people hope that the world will wake up and change when there is a big enough disaster. In contrast, we aim to inspire mainstream commitment to transformative change before it is totally too late (knowing that we are on the edge now).

Here are tools you can use to communicate with people you know and our larger networks about transitioning to a life-affirming global culture.

This is a set of modules purpose built for in-depth conversations abojut systemic change. An interesting innovation, adapted from a former stage magician, is to use physical models to help people keep track of ideas. People like them. (Templates for making the models are here, and a training video is here. A Kit with premade cardboard models is available here.)

Low budget marketing (guerilla marketing)

Guerrilla marketing is about inexpensive and sometimes imaginative ways to get your message or meme before the public eye.

The meme we want to promote is transitioning to a life affirming culture. Or, more fully, transitioning to a life affirming culture, rather than continuing on our present course of ecological self-destruction.

Helping people think better

One reason why at times  people find it difficult to grasp sustainability issues is because our educational systems do not develop – or even inhibit developing – the necessary creative thinking skills.

Workshops-on-the-fly are a way to introduce people to thinking skills that may be new to them (and useful) without going to the effort of organising full-blown workshops. They are short exercises in the areas of systems thinking, creativity training, environmental sustainability and psychological self-help that can be introduced informally to friends over coffee. They might take, say, four to eight minutes... not long.

Sources for Workshops-on-the-fly games and exercises include:

□ Engaging influential people

To take it to scale, an important role is to engage organizations and influential thought leaders in the Great Transition Initiative.

Although engaging is always improvised, this article provides a guide for getting started. It includes support tools.

Roles institutions can play

There are a number of things that institutions can do.

Practical ways to act as a transformational leader

The primary purpose of the Great Transition initiative is to inspire commitment to transformative change. This article outlines a number of practical ways to act on this commitment.

Forming teams to promote the Great Transition

The Great Transition Initiative is an expanding network. We support self-initiated action. At the same time, social support helps. How can we support independent action, and at the same time have social connection?

The natural way to handle this is for people to form teams either locally or online. Such teams would consider together what they might do, try things, and assess what happens.

Catalyzing social change by improving human performance

In addition to practical on the ground changes, an important aspect of the Great Transition is accelerating our cultural evolution. Just as individuals mature, becoming more wise, capable and compassionate, so do cultures.

Healthy cultural change starts with individuals reaching a new level development. This new level then gets translated into new modes of organizational style. Therefore a valuable contribution to the transition to a life-affirming global culture is to enable people to think in new ways. Einstein famously said that ‘the problems of the world cannot be solved with the same mode of thinking that produced them in the first place’ – or words to that effect.

The articles below are based on insights into the neurology of improving human performance. They outline a new paradigm for thinking about transformative social change. This paradigm underlines much of the Great Transition Initiative communication approach.

Feldenkrais was a pioneer in the practical applications of the neurology improving human performance. This article shows how ideas about improving human functioning can be applied to large-scale transformative change. The short answer is: we help good brains work better.

This article introduces the idea of ‘neurological templates’ – how learning skills through physical activity produces deep patterns of coordination in the central nervous system that can be applied spontaneously in other fields of activity. This approach has applications in teaching systems thinking, creative thinking skills and partnership-respect relating skills

Additional resources for grasping whole system change

There are many windows into whole system change to a life enhancing global culture. Each is valuable.

The Great Transition Initiative is about communicating to quickly give people an orientation to transitioning to a life enhancing global culture, and how we can accomplish it. This gets the conversation started.

It helps if we follow through by developing a richly nuanced understanding of the major themes. Here’s annotated list of some very helpful resources (there are other excellent books that are not on this list).

Julian Cribb                     Surviving the 21st Century

It is said that ‘doomsday messages’ make people’s eyes glaze over. This is especially true if a positive line of solution is not also been offered.

On the other hand, marketers emphasize the significance fear as a motivator, and certainly many activists are moved by their concern about the future. If it is the case that we are well down track of ecological disaster, then we need to wake up and commit ourselves to turning things around.

Science writer Julian Cribb’s well researched Surviving the 21st Century is the best ‘doomsday’ book I know of. It spells out nine existential threats in addition to global warming that threaten humanity’s ongoing viability as a species. And it includes practical solutions.

Sailesh Rao                      Carbon Yoga Times

This book offers a vitally important insight to transitioning to a life affirming global culture.  It reviews the research that shows that if people en masse transited away from eating animal products, the 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock could be rewilded. Natural processes of forest and grassland regeneration can withdrawal more carbon than has been put into the atmosphere by industrial processes since 1750.

Rewilding nature is the fastest way out of our carbon dilemma.

Liz Elliott                          a New Way is Possible Now

This is the most richly articulated positive vision of the future that I’m aware of.

Western peoples are unknowingly exploited by parasitic big banks that suck up huge amounts of money through hidden interest and rents. Money could be issued by national banks for public goods without requiring interest. Interest requires continual industrial growth to repay it, and this drives both ecological destruction and social deterioration. Many people do not have time to actually enjoy life.

In my ideal world a New Way is Possible Now would be in every bathroom in America, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Why? Because everybody has a bit of time to read when they’re on the loo!

Riane Eisler                     The Partnership Way

Riane Eisler makes the case that there are two fundamentally contrasting values sets and ways of operating. One is dominating others for power and personal aggrandizement. The other is collaborating for the well-being of nature and communities. Eisler calls this partnership-respect relating, in contrast todomination-control relating.

Predictably the continuation of domination-control as our predominant cultural mode will lead to atomic war, massive ecological collapse, or both.

This book shows how partnership-respect relating applies at every level from personal relationships to global governance.

Importantly, we know how to train to become personally more competent at partnership-respect relating, and we know how to embed partnership-respect values into organizations.

Pope Francis                   Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

This encyclical outlines in clear, compassionate, and heartfelt terms the connections between economic growth, environmental degradation and the well-being of other species (as well as the existential threat to our own species). It is a clear account of whole system change… and a call for us to change.

Amory Lovins et al        Natural Capitalism

Natural Capitalism outlines design principles in every sphere whereby we can reduce energy use and materials throughput by 90% or more.


Dark descriptions of our current situation and future prospects

What will motivate people to change the whole system? Frankly, possibly nothing. However, our theory of change is based on recognising that we are in an acute emergency with the triple threats of environmental unravelling, nuclear war, and Western democracies tuning into totalitarian surveillance states. If so, this becomes a reason/motivation to make the large scale transformative changes necessary to turn things around.

Ah, but are we really in an existential emergency? The following resources make the case.

Julian Cribb highlights ten existential threats to humanity’s midterm survival, including global warming and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

John Pilger outlines how the United States has set up bases around both Russia and China, and positioned missiles within striking distance of Moscow. This is provocative, and increases the potential for nuclear war.

The point of surveillance in a totalitarian state is to quash people who resist the dominant power structure. The technology practical and application of surveillance is already far advanced. In this article Julian Cribb shows where it can go.



šš If together we succeed in
transitioning to a life-affirming global culture,
future generations will thank us –