For Jubilee OneEarth Economics, part of positioning ourselves to meet the challenges of the 2020’s is adding John Michno to the leadership team.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. A man finds a pearl of extraordinary value and sells everything he owns in order to secure it. If Jesus were here today, might he say the Pearl of Great Price is our ecosystem—Earth, our home? Earth provides oxygen, water and plant nutrients in just the right amounts to sustain life.
Yet, this delicate balance is changing, and life, as we know it, is at risk. At the same time, some of the very things that define our modern society create that risk. Due to the unconscious way we over-consume, our lifestyle and our modern mode of production threaten our very existence on this planet. The Good News is that we’re creating a new culture—a culture capable of living within the resources of OneEarth. I’d love if you were to write to us to celebrate how you’re stepping into sustainability.
John’s Work & Business
My career began as a Fellow with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, researching mathematical models of sea pollutants and overfishing. With a degree in Physics from UCSD, I worked as a software engineer for a former division of General Electric. Drawn to working directly with customers, I became a software consultant to Global Fortune 500 corporations and government organizations and specialized in advising them on how to conserve resources. I became a project manager, and directed teams of engineers for the US Navy and the National Science Foundation.
John’s Human-Valued Mission
After 25 years of focusing on science and software and leading some large budget projects, I felt purpose in contributing to the personal growth of individuals and the organizational development of groups. I began working with teams of facilitators to offer workshops and conferences on Nonviolent Communication. We added tools like Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space Technology and mindfulness, and within a short time, we were receiving invitations to teach Nonviolent Communication and personal and organizational growth strategies at universities, synagogues and churches, and work places.
After my early experiences of Christian spirituality, my faith broadened so that I also came to deeply appreciate interfaith practices. Many of my friends who are secular consider themselves deeply spiritual . Stephen Batchelor writes of this kind of spirituality in his recent book, After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age, in which he suggests that “For many people, religious thoughts and acts are those that engage their deepest core relationship to the totality of their life and what it means for them.” This kind of inclusive understanding of spirituality, which enables us to create a diverse community, has been transformative for me, not only personally, but in partnering with others. In 2017, I became aware that some of my friends’ children were being targeted for bullying because of their Muslim, Jewish, Latinx or African American cultural heritage. As part of an interfaith team, in consultation with social workers at the Trauma Informed Care Team, we worked with the school district to develop new policies and curricula that appreciate diversity, tolerance and kindness for all students and teachers.
Most recently—and as the climate emergency became unequivocally apparent—I served as the Interfaith Coordinator for SanDiego350. I worked to build relationships with clergy of all faiths, inviting them to act jointly on the environment, through education about climate change science and the formation of Creation Care circles in their communities. I partnered with Baháʼí, Brethren, Buddhists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Nazarenes, Quakers, Religious Science, UCC, Unitarians and others.
As a result of these experiences, I increasingly value the diversity of spiritual practices, the insight of science, the preciousness of our environment, and of individual humans. Through our work at OneEarth, we seek to bring these gifts to nourish our planet and our peoples.
In 2020, we’ll be holding special events recognizing the 20th year for Jubilee Economics Ministries — One in a series of delegations to southern Mexico to learn communitarian practices from the JEM Circles there, 6/6-13; a conference in San Diego, 9/19-20, featuring scholar Wes Howard-Brooke; a 20th anniversary party in San Diego toward the end of the year.