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Ecosystem Mapping

Ecosystem Mapping Update

Back in December 2021, we launched our collaborative ecosystem mapping initiative to chart a newly emerging social change ecosystem. 

We’ve received some helpful feedback from visitors to the site and we’re excited to respond to the enthusiasm to contribute to the project with some new features, which allow greater community involvement with the project and the ecosystem it maps! The ecosystem mapping site now features visualizations which offer new ways to explore and understand the map, and it is even easier to contribute suggestions and improvements to the site than before. Read more below.

New visualizations

Earlier in the year we created two new visualizations to help people to see how the different organizations in the ecosystem fit together. The first visualization, seen below, maps the organizations in the directory based on their primary focus topic. Topics range from Spirituality & Religion to Politics & Economics, and more. This allows users to see the distribution of organizations across topics, and the predominance of topics within the broader ecosystem. Explore the visualization.

Our second visualization plots the organizations in the ecosystem based on their approach to social change. Each organization has been given a weighting across three dimensions of inner, cultural and systems change based on the type of change they aim to bring about. We’ve also used colors to represent primary topics, to differentiate the levers that organizations are using to bring about these types of change. Explore the visualization.

Making contribution even easier

From the outset, we have argued that any successful mapping effort must be collaborative and participatory. We have always intended for this mapping to be a community project, and are grateful for the contributions we have already received through our existing channels.

We’re now excited to announce that we’ve made it even easier to contribute. We have opened up the site itself, giving it a wiki-like structure, meaning people can contribute and add items directly – no coding required. We hope this can support the ongoing growth of our contributor community, and empower users to continue in collective efforts to make the map ever more useful and informative. For detailed instructions on how to add and edit profiles visit https://ecosystem.lifeitself.org/contributors-guide.

A note on terminology

When we first embarked on this project, the name we opted for was ‘Mapping Metamodern’. Upon further consideration, we have decided to move away from the term ‘metamodern’. Metamodernism is a particular movement within the ecosystem we are mapping, and we therefore do not think that it is the best term to use in relation to this very broad ecosystem, or even ecosystem of ecosystems, as a whole.

The defining feature of this ecosystem is the shared problem being tackled by all organizations within it: the polycrisis. We therefore think that the language we use should speak to this point of alignment. In addition, we are finding the term ‘polycrisis’ to be gaining more and more steam as an organizing term. We recognize that there is a lot of different language being used in this space, and while polycrisis might not be used everywhere nor by everyone, it feels like the right term to use right now.

If you have any feedback or comments you would like to share with us regarding terminology, please feel free to get in touch.