Tom Atlee: Social, Peace and Environmental Activist and Author

Episode Summary

In this conversation Tom Atlee and Jennifer Morone discuss wiser forms of democracy and governance.

Episode Notes

Tom Atlee is the founder of the nonprofit Co-Intelligence Institute, author of The Tao of Democracy and Reflections on Evolutionary Activism, and creator of the Wise Democracy Pattern Language. He has published many articles in alternative journals, collaborated on numerous projects and books, been on several nonprofit boards, and consulted on social change projects internationally. 

Born in 1947, Atlee was raised as a Quaker peace and social justice activist. On the 1986 Great Peace March, a nine-month cross-country US trek undertaken by four hundred ordinary people, he experienced bottom-up self-organization and palpable collective intelligence for the first time. This watershed experience changed his life into a search for how to evoke these collective capacities in activist groups, communities, and whole societies. Starting in the mid-1990s, his activist instincts led him to apply his discoveries to the creation of wiser forms of democracy and governance. In 2005 he began a study of evolutionary dynamics that could be used to transform social systems and is currently exploring new forms of collective sense-making and grassroots participatory democracy and economics.

Tom lives simply in a nine-bedroom, consensus-based co-op house in Eugene, Oregon, with a changing population of friends, dogs, cats, chickens, plants, books, and chores. While he spends most of his time glued to his computer, talking passionately with colleagues, or hanging out with his beloved partner, he also enjoys reading, walking, watching movies, decorating leaves, and creating poetic collages. His daughter and granddaughter live in New England.

He can be reached at cii@igc.org.  His ideas can be explored on co-intelligence.org, tomatleeblog.com, and wd-pl.com.

An expert in the field of dialogue and deliberation, Tom has thought long and hard about the impact collective intelligence could have on democracy. His conversation with Jennifer covers several subjects, including the influence of his upbringing in the Quaker community, experiments in democratic deliberation, and how we might begin to listen to each other again during this time of extreme polarization. 

Production by Jennifer Morone, Leon Erichsen and Matt Prewitt

Intro/Outro music by MagnusMoone “Wind in the Willows”

is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License

(CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)