Evolutionary Life
... nurturing the conscious evolution of civilization
About Us
•   History  •   Board Members   •   Projects   •   Contact   •


Evolutionary Life  grew out of a series of “Evolutionary Salons” held in 2005 and 2006 inspired by Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow and organized by Peggy Holman and Tom Atlee with teams of volunteers.  These Evolutionary Salons were gatherings of interested people to discuss and explore in depth specific topics related to conscious evolution. 

The first Evolutionary Salon spontaneously generated a vision for "a movement for the conscious evolution of increasingly conscious social systems."  Inspired by this vision, Dowd and Atlee met in November 2005 to explore working together toward that end.  The first product of that collaboration was the Evolutionary Spirituality Wiki.

During the second and third Evolutionary Salons, ideas related to conscious evolution were further developed and networks expanded.  Out of the fourth Evolutionary Salon -- specifically for philanthropists -- came a grant from the Kellogg Foundation for Tom Atlee and Peggy Holman to research evolutionary dynamics that could be used to change social systems, a project completed in January 2008.

During this 2006-2008 period two other related efforts were also undertaken:  First was Tom Atlee's creation of a journal-sized evolutionary newsletter -- first called Evolutionary Edge and then Evolutionary Life.  Four issues were published before being replaced by Michael Dowd's Evolutionary Times and blog.  In the second major undertaking, Peggy Holman and Susan Cannon formed the Evolutionary Life nonprofit charitable educational organization with Atlee's help and arranged for its 501(c)(3) tax-deductible status, with the three of them as founding board members.

Evolutionary Life intends, among its other missions, to help bring together
diverse leaders, initiatives and organizations working for conscious evolution and to support their explorations into the conscious evolution of social systems.  Moved by these purposes, the Evolutionary Life board decided it would be wise to engage other leaders in the movement to help clarify the most productive starting point for the work of Evolutionary Life.  This initiative evolved into our vision for the fifth Evolutionary Salon -- the intergenerational gathering for evolutionary activism described below.

Board Members

Peggy Holman convenes and hosts conversations that matter, inviting people and systems to gather around issues they care about.  By using generative, emergent processes that call forth the best of who people are and can be, the energy and wisdom to move dreams to action are unleashed, resulting in more resilient, agile, collaborative and alive people and systems.  The vastly expanded second edition of her book, The Change Handbook (Berrett-Koehler, 2007), co-edited with Tom Devane and Steven Cady, has been warmly received as an aid to people wishing to increase the effectiveness of their organizations and communities. Peggy has an MBA from Seattle University, held corporate positions in software management and consults in the field of organizational transformation.  Since 2001, she has worked with journalists in redefining journalism for the 21st century. Her current inquiry is into how we take to scale the gifts that the "process arts" bring to shifting our collective capacity for living well together.  She is currently writing a book on the dynamics of emergence.

Tom Atlee writes and networks about social theory, collective intelligence, holistic philosophy, and evolutionary transformation.  His activist past in movements for peace and democracy has shaped his role as a change agent, while he has moved from adversarial modes of activism to more catalytic evolutionary strategies.  He has served on several nonprofit boards -- including the steering committee of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation -- and consults internationally.  He founded the nonprofit Co-Intelligence Institute in 1996 to explore ways for communities and societies to co-create their futures together more wisely.  His 2003 book The Tao of Democracy has sold thousands of copies in more than a dozen countries and his articles have been published in dozens of alternative journals including Yes!, The Permaculture Activist, Institute of Noetic Sciences Review, Earthlight, Turning Wheel, The Systems Thinker, Kosmos and Science of Mind.  His co-intelligence.org and other websites are visited by thousands of visitors every month.

Susan Cannon is an integral futurist and itinerant scholar-practitioner who develops projects with "evolutionary leverage".  With a BS in Engineering Physics, an MS in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Integral Studies and Futures Research, she works with research methodologies and technologies to uncover the collective images/visions of the future to make them more conscious and visible.  Affiliated with Pacific Integral, Kore Leadership, and the Arlington Institute, her current practice includes teaching, writing, coaching, consulting, and the transformative development of women leaders.  Her past work includes corporate positions in executive management and engineering in the semiconductor, defense, and demolition industries, a Sunday radio talk show "On The Path", an environmental award for a construction waste recycling business, and Cold War era air trade linkages with the Soviet Union.


For our related projects prior to the formal establishment of the Evolutionary Life nonprofit organization, see "History", above.  Our current project is this:

Evolutionary Activism:  Co-Creating an Intergenerational Wave of Whole Systems Change -- an Evolutionary Salon in which a diverse group of luminaries and social activists will explore the emerging role of evolutionary activism in today’s world.  We are co-sponsoring this gathering with Generation Waking Up, a youth organization connecting young people with the larger Story and Movement of our time.

This fifth Evolutionary Salon is inspired by an awareness that advances in twenty-first century technology, thinking, and social processes are opening the way for a more systemic and evolutionary activism to meet the challenges of our time.  Simultaneously, it is emerging from a recognition that we are living at an historic moment when the Millennial Generation is coming of age into their visionary young adulthood just as the Boomer Generation is coming of age into their visionary elderhood, and from the convergence of these forces is rising an unprecedented opportunity for co-creating an intergenerational wave of whole systems change.

Evolutionary activism is defined here as an emerging field of change and transformation processes that are informed by an evolutionary worldview and guided by a growing understanding of the dynamics of evolution. It is an activism that is striving to build a movement for the increasingly conscious evolution of ourselves and the social systems we are part of.

A partial list of people who will be invited to attend this Salon include David Sloan Wilson, Michael Dowd, Connie Barlow, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Deepak Chopra, Jean Houston, Michael Beckwith, Julia Butterfly Hill, Ocean Robbins, Drew Dellinger, and significant actors associated with networks like Ken Wilber's Integral Institute and magazines like EnlightenNext, among others.

In the spring of 2010 we expect to bring together such a diverse and intergenerational group of 30-60 luminaries and activists to further the creative potential of the converging trends noted above. This work will be supported by a participatory online space. The gathering seeks to clarify:
  1. a vision of evolutionary activism and an emerging agenda of whole systems change
  2. an understanding of the evolutionary dynamics that support intergenerational co-creation and the conscious evolution of social systems,
  3. a curriculum of evolutionary activism that can be offered to activists, change makers, and citizens, as well as
  4. developing lasting relationships and networks for co-mentoring, inspiration, resource sharing, and collaborative action.

Please send inquiries and responses to Peggy Holman, peggy <at> evolutionarylife (dot) com.

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