Yak Pak Yak 2

For our upcoming YAK PAK 2 session Dec. 19th, I’ve been pondering whether we should have any kind of agenda. Our first dinner was just getting to know one another and it was a lot of fun. I don’t want this to get to feel too much like work. On the other hand, one would like to get inside those interesting minds in the room.

Please come with your own thoughts of whether you would like us to talk about some specific topics, or just wing it with no agenda and let Bacchus be our guide.

One thought I had was that I would like to know what each PAK member’s secret passion or outrageous wish is – either personal or for the world at large. We already know that Steven is driven to trek the high places of the planet.

Another thought came out of the following email exchange I had with Mark:

My email to Mark was as follows:

Hello, Mark,

we got back yesterday from Cambodia.

In Cambodia, we went to all the wondrous temples in Siem Reap, a couple of days in Phnom Penh and a week at an isolated beach place, Kep, on the Sea of Thailand.

When you travel in Southeast Asia, you get a feeling for what 9 billion living on the resources of 4 planet Earths is going to feel like.

Cambodia, one of the poorest nations in Asia, is, embarked, like all of Southeast Asia, on a rapid economic development path, leaping from bullock carts to Lexus SUVs with as brief a pause as possible at bicycles and motorbikes.

When they talk about climate change at the macroeconomic level in Copenhagen– cap and trade and carbon credits and all that –there seems to be a complete disconnect with what is happening with personal consumption patterns on the ground.

Starting with us: When I take the Global Footprint Network carbon footprint questionnaire, Jane and I live at the level of 1.5 planet Earths. Not good, but not nearly as bad as the U.S average, which is about 3.5 planet Earths. Where we really blow it is on the nice airplane trip we just took – because I fly more than 100 hours a year, that puts our carbon footprint up to 7 planet Earths.

Unless somebody (who, me?) changes me – and the material aspirations of all those Cambodians that want to live like me–all the bloviation at climate conferences will be just political maneuvering to force somebody else to pay to keep an outdated unlimited growth model of industrial capitalism churning ahead for as long as possible.


Mark replied as follows:

Sounds like an amazing trip! I’ve been having the same thoughts reading about the Copenhagen meeting. A fascinating discussion for the Yak Pak might be how, if at all, this industrial capitalist paradigm might be broken–could it be evolutionary or must there be a profound crisis? What makes people and countries change?

On a silly note, I was trying to come up with a new version of the “Who’s on first” routine.

Wat’s the name of a Cambodian temple?

Hu’s the President of China?

that’s as far as I got.


The YAK PAK is an informal dinner and discussion group of people interested in one another’s ideas.

I won’t try to describe here the etymology of the name YAK PAK.

Let’s just say wine was involved.

The group includes:

Bob Horn, a distinguished scholar at Stanford and originator of Information Mapping http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_mapping

Steven Goldfinger, a principal at Global Footprint Network, which is the most widely used source for sustainability analytics . See: Current Methods for Calculating National Ecological Footprint Accounts

My colleagues at Collective Invention, Erika Gregory, Fiona Hovenden and Clark Kellogg.

We met Bob and Steve working on projects for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development ... and independently and accidentally, we met hiking.

The latest addition to THE PAK is Dr. Mark Breitenberg, newly appointed provost of California College of the Arts and president-elect of Icsid (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design).

Mark and Clark Kellogg know one another and Mark and I met in connection with the recently completed 2009 World Congress of ICSID where we pursued my proposed conference theme of Design2050.

The separate fields of political science, economics, future scenario planning, data analytics, knowledge representation, systems modeling and design thinking are practiced by people who seldom encounter one another. We have been asking ourselves how might these complimentary disciplines meet in a next generation of integrated design theory, method and practice that I call Deep Design. And we are pondering how Deep Design can become a resource for the job of redesigning life on earth. None of us seems to question that this is the job at hand.

That’s the serious stuff.

We also seem to spend a lot of time laughing.

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