The People

Projects pursued by PLANETARY HUMAN are made possible by core members and volunteer contributors.

Richard Whitehurst - Founder & director

In his own words:

As I look out to the rising sun from a cliff near my home in Queensland, Australia, with the vast Pacific waters giving birth to a golden road of awe, with my vision being overwhelmed by the shimmering resplendence – with the horizon curving off to my right and my left suggesting the spherical immensity of the planet – with the Earth’s gravity holding down all those vast waters – with the thin film of the Earth’s atmosphere cloaking a limitless cosmic abyss there just above my head – with the swarm of life permeating land, sea and sky all around me – with my own inscrutable biological and perceptual circumstances ... within all this and more, I begin to feel my heart warming and opening through a palpable, visceral upwelling of deep emotions in the centre of my chest – to beautiful surges of astonishment, and excitement and love. These kinds of powerful feelings, so compelling yet so private, are what have brought about the development of Planetary Human: the website you are visiting and the sense of personal identity that has composed these words.  

 

This involvement is both a ‘head-trip’ and a ‘heart-journey’ – intensely contemplated and emotionally interfused by the astounding discoveries of the sciences. This identity extends into that of the ‘possibilian’ – which means I avoid fixed ideas about any ultimate model of reality and remain open to possibilities rather than closed by things believed, or by things supposedly known, or unknown, or seeming to exist outside current methods of empirical investigation. Mine is an open, unfolding process-orientation. Like the wandering albatross I remain aloft. I refuse to land on any final belief, story or conception about reality. I revel in unanswered questions and I adhere to a kind of ‘cognitive deficitism’ – an orientation that the human nervous system, its questions, and its conceptual frameworks are utterly incapable of encapsulating the totality of reality, no matter how intensely they try. To me, a story about reality – scientific, mathematical, theological, or otherwise – is never ‘The Reality’ itself. I embrace ineffable Mystery.                  (...read more)

Richard & Linn whitehursrt

Jimmy Hirst

Jimmy Hirst is a passionate, self-professed social entrepreneur and social engineer actively working in advocating for and helping transition the mainstream population to that of more sustainable, regenerative, and socially connective communities (also referred to as "Eco Villages") to help improve quality of life for all people as well as helping reduce impact on the planet so that it may thrive for generations to come.

 

Jimmy has had a highly awarded, celebrated and influential career and background in the music & media and innovation & technology industries (pre- and post-Internet) spanning over thirty years which has transformed generations, by socially collaborating and working with successful teams who have changed the way people live. 

He launched the polkadot • tiny houses brand - http://www.polkadot.org.au - to build affordable Eco Smart Tiny Houses On Wheels for the mainstream offering more affordable, locally-made housing, off-the-grid, renewable and recycled, climatically efficient, intelligent, Internet and Blockchain-enabled, attractive, economical, easily transportable, safe and secure as well as innovative, smartly engineered dwellings designed to easily plug into holistically integrative and regenerative communities. This is connected to the polkadot community inc assoc to help advocate, facilitate and build future housing models, one being “mobile eco parks”, through demonstrable public seminars and festivals.
 

He spent over six years of his life travelling around the globe to the USA, UK & Europe and Africa to research intentional communities and connecting with thought leaders through organisations like the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Intl Communal Studies Assoc (ICSA), Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA), NextNow (Silicon Valley), living in world-renowned villages such as the Findhorn (Scotland), Christiania (Denmark), Tamera Healing Biotope (Portugal) and locally The Eco Village at Currumbin, and is a member of many community groups.

Alison Rickert

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biology and Psychology

A Scientist: “My early steps to becoming a planetary human were shaped by six years working as a marine biologist in the 1970’s when I had the unique opportunity to live on various remote islands on the Great Barrier Reef as a pioneer of two research stations. I was literally immersed in an exquisite but unexplored marine world. Just as astronauts suspended in space were overwhelmed by the earth’s beauty and oneness, I came to appreciate that the natural world matters, it sustains, inspires and heals us and has inherent value in its own right.”

A Mother: “Thirty years of boot camp rearing three children with my partner Peter grounded me, my capacity to love was enlarged, meditation became my life line and I began to explore inner space. From this I learnt that love matters”

A Counsellor: “Exploring the psychology side of my degree, I worked as a counsellor with Relationship Australia for ten years and pioneered a relationship course in schools.  I came to the conclusion that most of us seek love over hate, we long for deep connection but sometimes the small “I” gets in the way of the larger “We”.”

Alison and daughter Arwen visiting Lizard Island for the 40 year anniversary of setting up the Lizard Island research station. Arwen lived on the island in a tent as a baby in the early days of the research station's establishment.

An Activist: “In the last decade I have become a climate change activist.  In 2006 I was in the first Australian cohort of 80 people trained by Al Gore, to deliver his presentation about climate change.  From this experience I learnt that community matters and if we are going to preserve life as we know it on our planet we all need to do our bit and work as a community of global citizens”.

What now ?
 “So let’s do it; let’s rise above our myopic view of life and embrace a planetary view; become mindful of our oneness, our humanity and our dependence on our beautiful earth/ water/air planet and act from this place”

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

James O'Dea

James O’Dea is author of The Conscious Activist, Cultivating Peace , Soul Awakening Practice (June 2017) and other acclaimed works. James is a former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Washington office director of Amnesty International and CEO of the Seva Foundation.

 

He worked with the Middle East Council of Churches in Beirut during a time of war and massacre and lived in Turkey for five years during civil upheaval and coup d’etat. He has taught peacebuilding to over a thousand students in 30 countries. He has also conducted frontline social healing dialogues around the world. He is a member of The Evolutionary Leaders group and on the Advisory Board of The Peace Alliance and Kosmos Journal. James also mentors emerging leaders. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Laszlo New Paradigm Institute. James is both an activist and mystic.  www.jamesodea.com

Jalaja Bonheim PhD

Jalaja Bonheim Ph.D. is an award-winning author, inspiring speaker, visionary and a uniquely gifted group facilitator who has dedicated her life to empowering women and celebrating the sacred feminine. In her workshops and retreats, women from all walks of life, faiths and cultures connect in a spirit of deep authenticity, open-heartedness, freedom and joy. Jalaja has trained hundreds of women leaders in the art of facilitating circle gatherings that address our hunger for more authentic communication and connection, inner peace and spaciousness. Graduates of the Circlework Training include psychologists, social workers, professionals, ministers, rabbis, business leaders and peace activists. http://instituteforcirclework.org    Jalaja mentors women leaders from India, Afghanistan, Australia, Kenya, India, Germany and other nations, and has attracted international acclaim for her groundbreaking work with Jewish and Palestinian women in the Middle East. Since 2005, she has been empowering them to serve as agents of peace in their communities. In 2010, she led the first women’s retreat ever offered in the West Bank, and in 2014, she offered the Circlework Training in the West Bank. 

Jalaja is the founder of the Institute for Circlework, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the practice of Circlework around the world. Since its beginnings in 2001, the Institute for Circlework has supported hundreds of participants and trainees from around the world. Jalaja is the author of many books including:

 

The Magic of Circlework: The Practice Women Around the World Are Using to Heal and Empower Themselves 

(Meetings in Sacred Space 2018)

The Circlework Training Manual (The Institute for Circlework, 2018}

The Sacred Ego: Living in Peace with Ourselves and Our World (

North Atlantic Press, July 2015). This book won the Nautilus Award for Best Book on Social Change and Best Book of the Year.

The Hunger for Ecstasy: Fulfilling the Soul’s Need for Passion and Intimacy (Rodale 2001)

Christopher Altman 

Christopher Altman is an American physicist, quantum technologist, international diplomat and NASA-trained commercial astronaut who began his scientific career with a Guinness world record-holding artificial intelligence project and a NASA/USAF-supported time travel division at multidisciplinary, “Deep Future” research institute, Starlab.

​ 

His pioneering next-generation science and technology initiatives include research at world-leading research institutes including NASA Ames Research Center, Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, as senior scientist at an astronaut training base on a volcano in Hawai‘i, as Chairman for the UNISCA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security—selected as annual recipient of the RSA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Policy—and as part of the US Government’s fast-track QuIST program in the global race for quantum supremacy. 


As Director of the Board and Chief Science Officer for the world's first commercial astronaut corps and Director with Tau Zero Interstellar Foundation, successor to the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program, Altman's research spans quantum technology and next-generation spaceflight. His inaugural keynote address as a candidate with the commercial astronaut corps was broadcast live to 108 sister cities around the world. NASA allocated funding to the corps for its first manned spaceflights the following spring.  Christopher is also ARC Future Fellow PhD Scholar in Quantum Technology at the Australian Research Council and University of Technology Sydney.

Christopher Altman with Neil Armstrong
Kevin W. Kelley

Artist, entrepreneur, and author of the NY Times and international best-selling books The Home Planet (1988), and Embracing Earth (1991), is now creating Infinitaas - a new paradigm for visualizing and exploring Big History and Earth Systems Science. 

The Home Planet is a large format book of stunning photographs of Earth taken from space, accompanied by quotations from astronauts and cosmonauts reflecting on the profound effect of experiencing Earth from the perspective of space. Over 600,000 copies of the book have been printed and distributed worldwide in 11 languages, and it remains the largest co-publishing venture between American and Russian publishers. 

Embracing Earth, New Views of Our Changing Planet, co-authored with Payson Stevens, was the first book to present an integral perspective of the earth's five interconnected systems: the geosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, the chryosphere and the biosphere. It was Chronicle Books’ lead volume in the fall of 1992.

After a period of running World Perspectives, a company providing images of space and the planet to the publishing and advertising industries, Kevin became involved with a number of start up companies, including one he co-founded intended to put the first Earth-looking TV camera into orbit. 

In 2009, with partner Rachel Bagby, Kevin co-founded Metanoiaa™, a design and production organization. Metanoiaa's breakthrough visualization technologies, social media, and artistic civic engagement strategies are designed to:
• Show audiences our place within time, space, and the unfolding processes of our cosmos 
• Create collaborative understanding, conversation and capacity through social media 
• Engage people through an ecological and earth-systems literacy program to take wise action towards developing global civilizations

   capable of truly flourishing 
• Help guide the successful transformation of human society in an era of rapid world change 

 

Kevin is also a founding member of The Overview Institute USA.   His website is: http://thehomegalaxy.com/

Mohammad Al-Mohanna PhD  

Dr. Mohammed Mohanna Al-Mohanna obtained his B.Sc. (1982) from faculty of Marine Sciences, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and was appointed to the position of administrator in (1983) at the faculty of Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture. In 1988, he obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Pollution from the University of Wales and was appointed Assistant Professor. Dr. Al-Mohanna has been actively engaged in education, research, consulting and advisory services in various field of environment aspects. He was a member of the scientific team who was studying extents and impacts of the oil spill in the Arabian Gulf during the Iraqi Kuwait conflict (1991).

 

Dr. Al-Mohanna has conducted many environmental impact assessment studies on local, national and regional levels. The studies describe the existing component of the environment affected, and assess the severity of impact, suggesting mitigating measures. He also has vast experience in environmental awareness.

 

He spent three years in a deputation to MEPA in which he was the director of Oil Pollution Groups and in the Saudi Environmental Awareness programs, was the chairman of MEPA`S Environmental Awareness Committee and MEPA`S Representative in the Scientific Committee for Environmental Exhibition held in Riyadh 1995, Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Al-Mohanna is the environmental consultant for Jeddah chamber of commerce and industries (JCCI), and the founder of the ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT Magazine published by JCCI, and its editor of three years.  In Dr. Al-Mohanna`s efforts and contribution to the area of environmental awareness among Arabians, he has published hundreds of articles in very respected and well known newspapers such as Middle East, Riyadh, Okas, Aleqtisadiah and Albilad. Dr. Al-Mohanna is a well known environmental writer and his weekly environmental articles in Okaz and Riyadh newspaper have attracted many readers - Saudies and non-Saudies (Arabian) - and led to the spread of environmental awareness among Arabic populations.
https://malmuhanna.kau.edu.sa/CVEn.aspx?Site_ID=0001394&Lng=EN

Richard Hill, MA, MEd, MBMSc

Richard Hill, MA, MEd, MBMSc, is a practising psychotherapist/counsellor, an author, educator and professional supervisor. He is acknowledged internationally as an expert in human dynamics, communications, the brain and the mind. He is a regular speaker on the topics of neuroscience and psychosocial genomics, has developed special training courses for suicide prevention and is the originator of the Curiosity Oriented Approach. His work with Ernest Rossi, PhD, has led to the publication of The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands, which is not only about a particular technique, first developed by Rossi, but also a complete approach to therapeutic practice. They describe this as Client-Responsive Therapy which includes Richard’s Curiosity Approach. He is President of the Global Association of Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies (GAINS), a select member of the International Psychosocial Genomics Research Group, an Esteemed Member of the International Council of Professional Therapists, director of the Mindscience Institute and, Managing Editor of The Neuropsychotherapist. He holds Masters degrees in Arts; Education; and Mind and Brain Sciences. His other books include, Choose Hope and How the ‘real world’ Is Driving Us Crazy! as well as numerous articles, journal papers and book chapters, including Perspectives on Coping and Resilience and Strengths Based Social Work Practice in Mental Health, published worldwide. www.richardhill.com.au 

Kathryn Lane Rossi, PhD

Kathryn Lane Rossi, Ph.D. is internationally recognized as a sensitive psychotherapist and teacher of innovative approaches to facilitating the creative process in the arts and sciences. In recent years she has pioneered new neuroscience approaches to yoga, consciousness and enlightenment.   http://www.ernestrossi.com

 

She is a Professor of Psychotherapy at La Nuova Scuola Di Neuroscienze Ipnosi Therapeutica (The New School of Therapeutic Hypnosis) and l’Istituto Mente-Corpo (The Mind-Body Institute), Solopaca, Italy. Her abiding passion is the integration of ancient and modern experiences of heart and mind for facilitating the global evolution of consciousness and compassion.

 

Her recent books include editing Creating Consciousness: How Psychotherapists Can Facilitate Wonder, Wisdom and Self-Care (2012), The Breakout Heuristic (2007), A Dialogue with Our Genes: The Psychosocial Genomics of Therapeutic Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (2004) and The Symptom Path to Enlightenment: An Advanced Manual for Beginners (1996). She is a co-editor of the 16 volumes of The Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson, M.D.

Jean Benedict Raffa EdD

Jean Benedict Raffa EdD is a former teacher, television producer, and college professor with a doctorate in Education from the University of Florida.

 

In her late thirties she underwent a spiritual “dark night” that shifted her focus from the outer world of achievement and conformity to the authentic inner life of the psyche.

 

The work of Carl Jung inspired intense study and led to the re-discovery of her passions for writing and self-knowledge. Since then she has  been writing and teaching about psychological and spiritual matters from a perspective informed by Jungian psychology and personal experience. Her previous books on these subjects are The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul.

 

A mother of two and grandmother of five, she and her husband, an economist, live in Maitland, Florida and Highlands, North  Carolina.    http://www.jeanraffa.com
 

Laura Koniver, M.D. is a physician who has combined the best of modern medicine with intuitive healing, along with the application of grounding (sometimes known as earthing), relational elements gleaned from her deep experiences as a mother, and the joy of her artistic expression portraying states of wellness through her paintings. She sees her duty as a healer to look at health problems from a deeper level then just an analytical mind-frame. In the course of her medical practice she has discovered that there is room for both sides of herself; the analytical mind and the intuitive one. In this way she has been using her intuition to sense the deeper meaning behind health issues, the reasons behind the issues, the energetic imbalances, and the deeper healing work needed to resolve the issues. Dr Koniver has found that running a health problem through both the lens of modern medicine and the lens of intuition reveals a bigger picture that can’t be seen any other way.

 

Laura Koniver M.D.
She has been interviewed by healthcare reporters, magazines, news programs and websites including FoxNews, First for Women, MaryJanes Farm, and many more. She writes a regular health column in a national magazine and is a featured expert protagonist in the motion picture ‘Grounded, 'Heal For Free" and the award winning film 'Down To Earth’. She offers on-line health classes and holistic healing tools to patients and readers all over the world. Planetary Human is proud to have Dr Koniver as a member of its advisory board.    
http://www.intuition-physician.com/
Dr Koniver with former Astronaut Edgar Mitchell in the filming of 'Grounded'
 Paul Hawken   ~   Fellow 

Paul Hawken is an author and activist. He has founded successful, ecologically-conscious businesses, and consulted with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. He has written seven books including four national bestsellers: The Next Economy, Growing a Business, and The Ecology of Commerce, and Blessed Unrest. The Ecology of Commerce was voted as the #1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, co-authored with Amory Lovins, has been referred to by several heads of state including President Bill Clinton who called it one of the most important books in the world at that time. He has served on the board of many environmental organizations including Center for Plant Conservation, Shelburne Farms, Trust for Public Land, Conservation International, and National Audubon Society.

https://www.drawdown.org

Annahita Nezami PhD

Annahita Nezami received her doctorate in Counselling Psychology from City, University of London and is the founder of VROE http://www.vr-overview-effect.co.uk/ Virtual Reality Overview-Effect where she designs and co-facilitates mental health workshops. As a counselling psychologist she also runs a private practice in Kingston upon Thames, UK, with over 15 years experience working in mental health with specialisations in attachment, depression, anxiety, trauma and personality disorders.​ 

 

Her VROE project has been inspired by her five years of doctoral research on the therapeutic value of the Overview Effect. Her research aimed to explore how we can use awe-inducing experiences such as Earth gazing to promote growth and wellbeing. Dr Nezami's ongoing research continues to focus on understanding the effect and in discovering how its transforming emotions such as awe, gratitude, reverence, humility and wonder might be experienced by people on Earth as well as astronauts. She stresses that the role of psychologists should not merely focus on individual well-being but the well-being of entire societies. She is a speaker at conferences in the UK and Europe on her ideas and research into the Overview Effect, and has presented at TEDx London, British Psychological Society UK, InScience Festival, and Overview Symposium Netherlands. She has also contributed to BBC radio 4 and The Pulse radio programmes. 

Kirk J Schneider PhD

Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and leading spokesperson for contemporary existential-humanistic psychology. Dr. Schneider is the current president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI), Council Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), past president (2015-2016) of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the APA, recent past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (2005-2012), and adjunct faculty member at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Schneider is also an Honorary Member of the Society for Existential Analysis and the East European Association for Existential Therapy.  A Fellow of the APA, Dr. Schneider has published over 200 articles, interviews and chapters and has authored or edited 13 books including The Spirituality of Awe, The Polarized Mind, Awakening to Awe, The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, Existential-Humanistic therapy, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy, and the Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy. 
For more information on Dr. Schneider's work visit
https://kirkjschneider.com

Douglas Gillette

Douglas Gillette has been a life-long student of, and college teacher, guest lecturer, and workshop presenter in, the fields of history of thought, comparative religion and mythology, depth psychology, human origins, cosmology and quantum cosmology - in the Emeritus Program at Oakton Community College in Skokie, IL. He is the author of seven books in these fields with major publishing houses, with the sale of numerous foreign rights. Most recently he has published a profound collection of lyrical illuminations, At the Thresholds of Elysium - available through Amazon:  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692771646/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

Doug has been a pastoral counselor, working with individuals, couples, and groups, and is a retired pastor in the United Church of Christ, in which he specialized in inter-faith dialogue and alternative services, as well as church growth. He is a lover of the Divine, his fellow human beings, and reality as he has experienced it. His education includes a Theatre Major and an English Minor from Augustana College, an M.A. of Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and an M-Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary. With his teaching, writings, and appearances, he wishes to give back as much as possible of the richness he has received. We are proud to have him on our advisory board.

Holley Somerville Knott - Youth Fellowship

Holley Somerville Knott is a 15-year-old environmentalist from Byron Bay, Australia – CEO & Founder of the social enterprise ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’ (TSWC) – CEO & Founder of ‘Charity Foundation’, Singer, Slam Poet, Public Speaker and a Social Justice Advocate since she was 5 years old. After starting ‘Charity Foundation’ at age 8 to use her voice for good, Holley has been singing, speaking and performing to thousands of people at Festivals, Conferences, Gala events, Schools etc. She has a big heart and a voice to match! Her mission is to spread kindness and joy, and to inspire people to stand up for just causes and to co-create a peaceful and sustainable world for all beings. Her current project - ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’

www.tellsomeonewhocares.org sees her taking on and disrupting the palm oil industry by promoting a sustainable and alternative trade that

helps regenerate rainforests, empower local inhabitants, and protect endangered wildlife. Holley has been working with the Dayak people and the Masarang Foundation to develop this platform with beautiful soap products created sustainably with indigenous materials by local people. TSWC also functions as an educational platform and a way for youth to unite, connect, and find their unique purpose and passion.

TSWC has 3 main ways to ‘BE The Solution’ – 1. Host a RAD DAY:  (Rainforest Action Day)  2. Adopt an Orangutan:  Holley works with the Sintang Orangutan Centre who rescue, rehabilitate and release Orangutan and other wildlife who have been injured, orphaned in the palm oil destruction. 3.Purchase the sustainable products and spread the word of the movement. Visit her website for more information: www.tellsomeonewhocares.org

© 2017 Richard Whitehurst

All photos of Earth from space are courtesy of NASA.

All quotes by astronauts courtesy of the books: (1) The Overview Effect by Frank White - and - (2) The Home Planet by Kevin W. Kelly.