The Circle Complete

It’s hard to believe that we have completed yet another cycle around the sun. Can you imagine, we’ve traveled 940 million km together this past year? Every one of those 365 days traveling at light speed across the universe, we are also spinning on edge- on our 23.5 degree tilted axis, at a rate of 1,000 miles/hour? And, we’re now going to do it again in 2020?

What’s incredible to me is that due to the earth’s invisible gravity we don’t even feel it.

But what would happen if earth sped up, slowed down, or spontaneously spun out of its orbit, it’s natural alignment and rhythm with the sun and the rest of the planets in our solar system; disrupted and derailed? Such a radical divergence from the natural spin of the earth and balanced relationship with the rest of the stars, I can only imagine would be catastrophic.

If there is an innate order and natural harmony in the universe, isn’t it the same here on earth? More than just a metaphor or an analogy, isn’t it true that holding the integrity of the natural cycles of life and elegantly balanced circular ecology of life on earth as important in order to ensure that our biosphere and critical earth systems are not irreversibly disrupted or derailed to affect catastrophic consequences here too?

We may not feel the spin of the earth, but as a global society we are certainly spinning fast in the world we’ve created—speeding up resource-food-water consumption, energy use, urban development, human expansion at unprecedented rates. As well, our connection to digital devices, computer interfaces communicating in zeros and ones, and virtual worlds pivots our visceral experience of life on earth more toward that which is artificial and inanimate than that which is real and natural and alive. Therefore, we might not feel the spin, nor the disruption to the natural cycles and circle of life… until it is too late.  

I am hopeful in 2020 that as in nature- following disasters, destruction, discord there is a natural circular flow back to processes of regeneration, recreation, and peace. I believe, if we can maintain the integrity of the circle and actively give back what we take, regenerate more now than we consume and we make, re-balance our debts to nature, reclaim degraded landscapes, and deploy advanced technologies to do this all at scale… then I believe there is great hope for humanity to thrive in this 2020 to 2030 super decade … and beyond. 

Balance- seeking bold, brave, better ways to compensate for that which we’ve lost…and giving back more where we can, these become the first keys to unlock our true advance as a global society, invested in our brilliant future. 


  • Catherine Cunningham, PhD

    Mission Possible: Awaken Natural Intelligence in Our World

    Natural Intelligence

    Dr. Catherine Cunningham, PhD is an ecologist, anthropologist, writer, filmmaker, and media host producing films, interactive experiences, and online multimedia for international clients who are focused on positive economic, social, and environmental win-win-win solutions to global conservation and climate change.

    Catherine has travelled, written, photographed, and filmed in 70 countries, producing creative films and music videos in support the UN Global Goals and the human+nature planetary health narrative. Visit Natural to see where her work has premiered internationally. Over 20 years, she has interviewed hundreds of global thought leaders to promote sustainable solutions to climate change and conservation in creative ways. Catherine has written numerous articles on climate change, nature, and regeneration. She’s currently writing two books: “Naturally Intelligent by Design” — a fine art science and culture book for families and “Natural Intelligence”— a guidebook for well-navigating a post COVID-19 world by following nature’s principles. Partnering with Eurovision News and Events, Catherine is also an independent media host— producing content on nature, climate, and regeneration; syndicated globally by EuroVision’s News Direct. She is a regular contributor to Thrive Global and Medium. She currently produces communications for the Prince Albert II Foundation and participates in programming @ the World Economic Forum on Climate Change, Nature, and Biodiversity. As an university educator, Catherine taught undergraduate and masters courses in corporate sustainability communications at Arizona State University; global sustainability at Chapman University; biology, ecology, botany, and environmental science at Denver State College and Front Range College. In 2016, she designed one of the first university courses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (also online), contributing to youth action on the UN Global Goals. She also created a post-graduate program with UNESCO on the MAB (Man the Biosphere) reserves. Catherine earned her PhD in Ecosystem Science at ETHZ in Switzerland, studying climate impacts on mountain ecosystems. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Cultural Anthropology and International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters degree from Utah State in Ecology. Catherine speaks fluent English and conversational Italian. She loves creative collaboration, media production, mountaineering, outdoor sports, yoga, wellness, and travel.