Your NameBirte Dohlen
Cohort AssignmentEurope Summer-Fall 2023, Cohort 1
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

Currently, my main work is coordination of international development cooperation projects implemented by the environmental organization I work for. Together with local partner institutions, I am responsible for setting up and monitoring projects in Latin America and therefore mainly for administrative work. Nevertheless, I play a major role in the conception of the projects and have design freedom here.
Besides that, I do publicity work and manage the website of our organization, as well as educational work from time to time.

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

I see my role in my work as that of a systems thinker, even though I feel I still have so much to learn here. In my work, I keep in mind the inclusion of complexity that surrounds us and the regions of our projects and bring the systems perspective to the projects we do. I try to ensure as many different areas of impact as possible (social, economic, environmental, technical, cultural, etc.), always trying to connect rather than divide. People (coworkers) say about me that I am the analytical person with the structured approaches.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

In addition to the conceptual and administrative work related to our projects abroad, my goal is to initiate and implement further local project, as well as to expand my work here on site as an education officer. I am really fascinated about ecosystem restoration and regeneration, as it is something that gives me hope for the future. And it's so satisfying to be there when nature can breathe properly again, in places where she's been excluded for a while.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

- I want to better be able to identify, understand and use nodes and patterns for creating change
- Develop my own system thinking abilities so that I can use them in any kind of situation
- I need to build up self-confidence

5. And for professional growth?

My areas of growth are:

- being able to get into action at a local space. So far, I have participated in several local initiatives. I would love to start one on my own. I way too often get lost in ideas and stuck in complexity.
- facilitating and guiding people to find approaches to change the system from where they are, moving away from the dominant individualistic and consumer-based identity
- Build more insight and confidence for guiding regenerative work in the public sector
- Being able to reach out to people who are not yet in touch with sustainability topics, but could really improve their surroundings when engaging in regenerative work (I live in the center of Berlin, and there are so many communities especially in the outskirts that are rather isolated)

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

I feel that I have invested quite a lot until now, especially time and awareness. I have studied the M.Sc. called Global Change Management, where we got thought on how to use a problem or system-analysis methodology called MARISCO. After finishing the program, I applied this tool once to my work in Latin America.
While working part-time for the NGO "Gespa e.V.", I am involved in another association, namely the urban food forest in Berlin, the "Waldgarten Berlin-Britz e.V.", in which I have been active on a voluntary basis for almost 2 years and have been chairman of the board since May. Here I am learning a bit of practical know-how related to permaculture and restoring degraded land.
Besides the practical experiences, I am mostly self-studying topics related to systems thinking, regenerative design and development, permaculture, social imagination, etc. with the help of books, online resources and Moocs (free ones, as my salary is not sufficient, for instance from the ETH Zürich), podcast or local events.
Furthermore, I am since the beginning of 2023 part of the core team of the Cities Hub at the System Innovation Network, where we do events related to systems thinking in the context of cities.
Currently, I am helping to organize the Regens Unite Conference here in Berlin that will take place middle of September.

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

(some overlap in topics, of course)

Regeneration: Regenesis Institute, Pamela Mang, Bill Reed, Christian Wahl, The RSA, Oliver Goshey, Laura Storm, Giles Hutchins, Janine Benyus, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Helena Norberg-Hodge, ...

Systems thinking: Donella Meadows, Fridjof Capra, Peter Senge, Daniel Schmachtenberger, Carol Sanford, Nate Hagens, Richard Heinberg, David Peter Stroh, adreinne maree brown, Kate Raworth, Nora Bateson, Bayo Akomolafe, ...

Permaculture: Permaculture Women's Guild, Andrew Millison, Bill Mollison, Anne Bilk and David Montgomery, ...

Degrowth: Andrea Vetter, Maja Göpel, Jason Hickel, Giorgos Kallis, Timothée Parrique, Matthias Schmelzer, ...

Other: James Bridle, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, the green dreamer podcast
and so many more!

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

This is a big question. In my philosophical and cosmological perspective on life, I regard humans as mere pieces of puzzle or fragments within the intertwined tapestry of the web of life. We are manifestations of life's grand symphony, as you could call it, a continuous inter-play of matter and energy that eventually merges back into the collective pool of existence.

I believe that our being is defined by permeable boundaries, blurring the lines between our individual identity and the millions of other creatures that coexist within us. We are, in essence, living ecosystems that flourish through symbiotic relationships with countless other organisms, harmoniously shaping our existence. This intimate interdependence extends beyond ourselves, as we are integrated into larger ecosystems, forming an essential part in the fabric of life's interconnectedness.

My wonder for the living world deepens with each passing day, fueled by my own exploration of literature, direct observation, and while sensing the living world that surrounds us (even in the city). This connection extends to the more-than-human world, bringing forth a profound love and respect for the diverse species that share this beautiful and amazing planet with us.

In contemplating our role within this intricate web, I am always reminded of our responsibility as stewards of the Earth's delicate balance. We are not separate observers but active participants, entrusted with nurturing and preserving the diverse life forms that coexist alongside us. This philosophy ignites a profound sense of purpose, compelling me to foster a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness that binds all living beings. And a strong will to learn how to carry the awe and wonder I feel and this way of thinking and being into the world.

Date CreatedAugust 29, 2023