Project! FFFS – Fixing Funding For Sustainability, All Episodes

‘FFFS Fixing Funding For Sustainability’ is a video series that points out problems when it comes to funding of sustainability and presents ideas how to solve them. 

Episode 1 is already produced. For all the other episodes there are only the scripts available for now (posted below).


Episode 1: Grants / Förderanträge (Video & Script published here)
Episode 2: Science Is Useless! / Wissenschaft ist nutzlos! (Script published below)
Episode 3: Sustainably Unemployed! / Nachhaltig arbeitslos! (Script published below)
Episode 4: The Medium Is The Message: Send Cash not People / Das Medium ist die Botschaft: Schick Geld anstatt Menschen (Script published below)
Episode 5: The Power Challenge / Die Macht-Challenge (Script published below)
Episode 6: 1 Trillion! / 1 Billion! (Script published below)

Introduction: Why Fixing Funding For Sustainability?

„If you try to give humanity a future it is likely you’ll pay this with your own.“

Why a project to fix the funding of sustainability? Well… The short answer iscapitalism can’t fund sustainability. The core of our current capitalistic economy is to exploit our planet. Extract resources and pollute land, sea and sky! Whoever can do it quicker and cheaper wins the competition run.

So naturally capitalism is not the way to get things done with sustainability. You may say that you know examples where it is the opposite – where capitalism works for sustainability. Yes. At the fringes there are some. But don’t get distracted. Many of them are just a market diversification – another story to sell a new product. It is not a change of course.

Some waves dance into the opposite direction of a moving ship – because the ship is moving forward.

If the main source for funding does not work in favour of sustainability this means that sustainability needs other funding sources. And that it needs to allocate the little funding it can find very effectively.

Getting funding is basically the equivalent of being allowed to work on an issue. I have seen people trying to work on real sustainable change. The majority lives extremely precarious lives! If you try to give our planet a future it is likely you’ll pay this with your own. An even bigger group of people i met would love to work in sustainability but can’t find funding or opportunities at all. Only those who blow up the planet are fed well and stay secured.

So this series is about finding ways how we can enable more activities in sustainability. The problem is not that people don’t want to do something about sustainability. The problem is that we fail to provide them with the opportunities to do so. Let’s bring more energy into sustainability!

I started this series out of my own experience when I tried to get my work funded. I am an artist often working as an economist in the field of sustainability – I tried to get funding for my work from sources for sustainability. So I have seen things. Which made me come up with this series and the project behind it.



FFFS Episode 1: Grants

The Episode was produced ad published along with the script in english and german.

Download Script: PDF | DOCX | Download all Scripts: ZIP

English Video (below) | Deutsches Video

Update*: Some of the ideas expressed in the video are put into action Here: Open Funding Applications.  


FFFS Episode 2: Science Won’t Help

Download Script: PDF | DOCX | Download all Scripts: ZIP

* FFFS Titelschild
* BLOGLZ.DE Schild
* OHO Puppen
Often things like that happen: There is a sustainability project. Activists. And a scientists and wants to get engaged with the project. And the people in the project think: Yeah! Help is coming. But then they realize: The scientist is not a help. Because he or she is not in the business of sustainable change making. He or she is in the business of RESEARCHING sustainable change making. Which is a different thing.


Script Sketch


my name is Lars Zimmermann:


And this is: FFFS – Fixing Funding for sustainability. Episode two.


And this episode has a very clickbaity title: It is called: Science is useless for sustainable change! Or no. It is called: Science won’t help. But it is useless.

It is.

It’s not.

It is.

It is.

Of course, yes, not completely! But more than you might think.

/// CUT ///

Not A Lot Of Funding For Sustainability

The main problem is, that we don’t allocate really a lot or enough money for real sustainable change.

I live in Germany. And here we spend a lot of money for films [research & add number], for theatre [research & add number] and soon even for computer games [research & add number]! All of these things produce art – they produce results. State funded broadcasting too! They produce, what they get the funding for: movies, performances, games, radio and so on.

But we don’t have anything like this for sustainability! I mean for real sustainability action. For groundwork. For people getting their hands dirty and trying to do really hard work.

Sure. There is money – there are budgets – going into sustainability. But if you look really closely you will notice that huge parts of it – if not the majority – goes into science! There are many ministries and researchers and research projects on sustainability. True. A LOT! There are even a bunch of places where you can study sustainability.

/// CUT ///

Science is useless for sustainable change

I am active in the “sustainability world” for some time now, creating projects and meeting others with projects and I learned a bunch of things. And a really surprising unexpected thing was: How incredible useless scientists are for real sustainable change!

All the money that goes into science – and if it is the majority – is burned! It is not helping to make sustainable change.

/// CUT ///

First when I started my projects I was happy when there was a scientist popping up in a project. But now I think: Ough.


Another one. Not helping. But killing my time. Scientists don’t contribute to actual change!

/// CUT ///

Of course. It makes sense. As a scientist you are supposed to be objective! You can’t be what you research. You have to be outside. You need to keep your distance.

/// CUT ///

And secondly: As a scientist you are trapped in the science system! And the currency of that system is not change. It is research papers!

You write about something. And when one paper is finished – one idea, one theses, one result – then you move on to create the next one – maybe an entire different one! You don’t test your results. Or try to implement it.

If you do that… trying to implement – you are stupid! You risk your career.

Because working in science Is really really hard. It is highly competitive. You have to work crazy hours. And produce papers – many of them. And if you don’t – and you try to do some real change instead, you are unreasonable.

Science is a crazy treat mill. That spits out people that actually try to become activists – and push sustainable change!

And if you step out. There is no other funding opportuntiy. You crush.

/// CUT ///

Over-researched and under-developed

This is why sustainability is over researched but underdeveloped.

I got approached by several scientists that want to research sustainability and asking me to point out initiatives to them. There are so few, struggling hard, failing, not finding the money to work on their projects. And they are surrounded by the scientists like flies.

/// CUT ///

And I thought: Hey people. Don’t! Don’t produce a paper about the sad little pile that is there. Rather invest your time and help building it – make it bigger. Why research this. Build something instead!

But they can’t. They are trapped in their system – science – that does not allow them to become really active if they want to be able to pay their rent and feed their kids. > If you try to give this planet a future you are likely to pay this with your own.

/// CUT ///

More Public Funding

Ok. How to fix this?

First of all. It is nothing wrong with science. It is beautiful. I am not an enemy of science! All the funding they have should stay there!

But we should be aware, that the money that goes into science for sustainability is not money that goes into sustainable change. And if we take that out of the sum. We see, how little funding there is for sustainability change.

/// CUT ///

And my proposition is that we need something like we have for movies and theatre. We need something money for sustainability activism! Activism! Utopia-production! Campaigning. Education. Work that is not businesses. That does not have to be self sufficient. Like movies, theatres and public radio wouldn’t be the same if they would need to sustain themselves.

A Ministry for practical, applied sustainability.

Activism! Action! Not Science. Because science does not help.

/// CUT ///

Science is useless for change.

Reprise: Science is not useless

„Science is useless“ the title is a bit clickbaity. To get your attention. But of course it is not true. Science is important and can help:

* To evaluate solutions (what works and what not)
* To collect data to base solutions and decisions on.
* To collect and create knowledge for sustainable solutions: better tech!
* Talk to politicians (sometimes).
* And a bunch of other stuff too.

/// CUT ///

But the real fight or main for sustainability does not happen in these realms.

The real fight happens in the realm of convincing people. Getting their attention. Make things thinkable! Figuring out how to place a sustainable solution somewhere. Educate people. Developing products for the market. Hacking companies. Make it happen! That is where sustainability really happens. Well.

And in that realms it barely happens that science is a real help.

/// CUT ///

So let’s allocate more funding for this!

And how to do that – for this I recommend to watch the other videos and follow this series called: FFFS – Fixing Funding For Sustainability!


My name is Lars Zimmermann.

And if you want to find out more about my work. And this video series. Visit my Website:


/// SHOW SIGN ///

End remark

This video is licensed under CC-BY-ND! Because it reflects a point of view. However. Feel free to cut it together with other stuff. As long as you don’t make me say things I have not said I will not come after you!

/// END ///

///// ADD SOMEWHERE (?) DASS DIE Wissenschaftler dann gern um die Welt fliegen. Tokyo, New Zealand, und dass dafür extra Budgets vorgesehen sind. Und es ist ja irgendwie auch schön, so um die Welt zu fliegen… /// Eventuell eine Geschichte erfinden von einer Mutter mit 3 Kindern in einem Dorf, die ein Nachhaltigkeitsprojekte hatte aber kaum damit vorankam. Aber sie war umrundet von 10 Wissenschaftlern. Und als sie das Projekt einstellen musste, dann haben die Wissenschaftler darüber geschrieben, dass sie das Projekt einstellen musste. Und was getan hätte werden können, um das zu verhindern. Und dass sie dann auf teuren Konferenzen über den Fall bei Shrimps und Orangenschorle diskutieren. Bystanders! Vielleicht etwas weniger scharf. ////



FFFS Episode 3: Sustainably Unemployed (A Hack)

Download Script: PDF | DOCX | Download all Scripts: ZIP

Script Sketch


my name is Lars Zimmermann. And this is: FFFS – Fixing Funding for sustainability. Episode 3!

And this episode is called: „Sustainably unemployed.“

And it is about repurposing existing money streams for sustainability – through some minor adjustments or additions to an existing system. If you like to say so: a hack.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Sustainability? Boy, let’s need to face it: for this we need to produce and consume much less. It is consumption that harms the planet, but it is not necessary what makes us happy. At least in the western world we can consume much less and still have a happy or even happier life.

Where do all the products come from? They come from places where people work! It is employed people who take resources out of the ground, produce and sell stuff and pollute air and soil. People with jobs. Killing the planet is the side effect of many if not most jobs.


EXPLAIN: that we need more people out of jobs. But we are afraid of this because we don’t really have an answer in society how keep ppl. busy then and most importantly how to distribute wealth without labour.

We need to develop a positive story for this first. Make ppl. that do not work and consume less offers for green lifestyles – how to deal with free time and a live with less stuff and consumption. We could create for example a positive and more mainstream discourse around repairing, hacking and networking etc.

How/Where to start?

In some countries on the planet we have social security nets. In Germany we have something the public calls Hartz IV. If you are unemployed for a while you will get money from the state to cover your rent, health insurance and basic life expenses. It is really not much! But if you live a life with little consumption you can get by. Living a life with little consumption is … a sustainable life. It is not the poor that “fuck up” the planet.

The problem is, that it is not possible to spin a positive discourse around this. People on social care are forced to feel bad about themselves – society forces them to feel ashamed of themselves. Often they are put under enormous pressure. The problem is: This leaves no space to create a positive discourse of the sustainability of their lifestyle. And this leaves no space to explore this sustainable lifestyles in a positive way and develop them further. It is basically a huge research field for a happy life’s without labour and crazy consumption.

So let’s hack this! Social care is state money that already goes into supporting sustainable lifestyles and the research invention of it. Or at least: Let’s use it like that. By seeing it like that and promoting it like that. Can we reallocate that money? Declare it “Funding Sustainability Research”. Yes. We can.

Here are a few ideas how to start this. I am sure you can add more.

* Create a magazine (online and offline) with the “green spin” addressed to ppl. on social care. Show them how to enjoy life sustainably. Repair things. Spend time in nature. Cook healthy and sustainably. Do sports. Urban Gardening. Be healthy and happy and social. Allow them to be proud. Then deploy this magazine into the social care offices. Give it out to them in front of these buildings. Lay it out at political events and so on.

* // Add maybe few more ideas before shooting or elaborate on the one above //

//// PREPARE (?): Set up a website with this magazine, produce the first issue. Invite ppl. to contribute articles. Share it around. On top of the website is the video. Make it something ppl. can pick up. ////

///// MAYBE (?) … It could be funny to end the english version of the video with playing “Lithium” by Nirvana the first verse. Black background with white lyrics and in the “Yeahhhh” part show green forests and images of green lifestyles, carrots and so on. Then end it. :-)


I’m so happy because today
I’ve found my friends
They’re in my head
I’m so ugly, but that’s okay, cause so are you
We’ve broken our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday for all I care
And I’m not scared
Light my candles in a daze
Cause I’ve found God – yeah


END /////



FFFS Episode 4: ‚The Medium Is The Message‘ or ‚Send Cash Not People‘


Download Script: PDF | DOCX | Download all Scripts: ZIP

Script Sketch


my name is Lars Zimmermann:

And this is: FFFS – Fixing Funding for sustainability. Episode four.

And this episode is called “The Medium Is The Message: Send Cash, Not People”

It is mostly an episode about conferences.

Most of us have been at conferences. They are important for the education of adults – post university – and also for a bunch of other things for example networking.

And of course there are some on sustainability or related topics.

I know a bunch of people that fly around the globe from conference to conference on a sustainability mission.


They land. Stay in hotels. Talk for an hour or less at the conference about the problematic state our planet is in, and what they found out how to fix it. Then they meet a bunch of people with the same life-style while eating sophisticated catering food before they board their next plane – off to the next conference. To repeat all of this. Throughout the year.

Seems a bit …

The Medium Is The Message

One of the most famous quotes of the last century is by the philosopher Marshall McLuhan.

The quote is “The Medium Is The Message”.

And what he meant by this is that it does not really matter WHAT you say using a medium. The deeper and true message is in the medium itself, it is in HOW you say it.

You can go on national TV and claim how disconnected and isolated everyone is from everyone else in the country. If you broadcast this on national television it is obviously not true. The country experiences itself as connected in the same moment.

You can paint a colourfull picture showing a world where everyone is blind and can’t see pictures. But obviously this story gets into the brain of the recipients when they look at the picture! The true message is that picture. Is pictures!

Conferences That “Lie”

So the same is true for conferences.

It is not important what people are saying there. The medium – the conference itself and how it is made – is the true message. The medium is the planes that fly around the speakers, the expensive hotels and sometimes crazily expensive and resource intense conference infrastructure that often becomes garbage when the conference is over.

The speakers don’t have to tell us how fucked the planet is. That message was already sent by the medium they use to speak to us. And they don’t have to tell us their story how they fix things. Because their true message – the message of their medium – says the opposite.

These whole conferences are a mediums itself pretending to send a message of sustainability. But the true message is the exact opposite when they are made unsustainable. A sustainability conference where the medium – the conference – is the message would look different, there wouldn’t be planes, luxury hotels and throwaway infrastructure.

I think.


What has this to do with funding?

Well. When people start to set up these conferences there is obviously funding available. It is supposed to be funding to create a message of sustainability. But it is invested in hotels, plane tickets and so on. It goes into the opposite! Rendering what the conference wants to say a lie.

Can we take this existing funding and invest it in sustainability instead?

I have been a speaker at those conferences. I sat in these airplanes, I stayed in these hotels, I ate at these banquets and I projected my slides on these infrastructures. Why did I go? Because these conferences pay speakers fees! Speakers get money to speak. And these fees are an important part of my income!

The work I do with Open Circularity is incredibly hard to fund. This is the whole point of this video series: FFFS – Fixing Funding For Sustainability. And one income source is fees for speaking at conferences. It is a pillar of financing or enabling the work. And I know that it is the same for a bunch of these sustainability speakers.

How TRUE do you think my work with Open Circularity has been so far?

Fix It!

OK. How to fix this?

How to put this existing money into actual sustainability?

Well if you think about this for while and do some research – there are a lot of ideas out there how to set up conferences that are sustainable. Where the medium is the message. To many to list them all here.

But I want to give you at least a few to open your mind and convince you that thinking about it offers roads for at least different ideas.

For example:

* Whenever you have funding available … for your conference or whatever … give a bit of it to the people whose ideas you love and would like to see at your conference (maybe as a donation) – and give the rest to your local initiatives! No planes. No hotels.

* You could think for example about creating tandems. Connect the speaker whose ideas you love to a local person. Pay both! Make the speaker teach the local person his or her ideas so the local person can give the presentation. This comes with the side effect that you create a trained local agent of these ideas. And you force the speaker to find a way to deliver his or her ideas in a way that can be locally implemented and replicated quickly. Don’t create an entertained audience but a well informed ready to start something person. A more sustainable outcome.

* But this does not mean that you can never have a famous speaker at your conference. The british author Oscar Wilde was a famous speaker who travelled the world giving talks. He died 120 years ago. At that time there were no planes. How did he do it? He travelled the world and planned a tour. Going from city to city by train. Make people with interesting ideas go on tour. Provide open data about these tours and it would be easy for conference creators to create a great line up. Serendipity is the friend of creative insights!

* Don’t print posters, flags, cards, badges or order yourself one time infrastructure in the colours of your conference. There are smarter and much more sustainable design strategies for conference set ups like Pre-Use or Guerilla-Use… You can find links to these in the video description.

Or …


Let me stop here.

There are more ideas how to use this funding for sustainability conferences to fund sustainability instead of plane tickets, hotels and throwaway infrastructure. Put it into the pockets of those who drive sustainable change.

I leave this open to you. I invite you to post ideas how to create GLOBAL EXCHANGE of sustainability ideas and education that do not involve planes, expensive hotels and 3 star catering but still full fill the human needs of status, interesting experiences, face to face conversations and networking.

Please share them here …. //// mmh? Do I really want to make them post something? If so where?   ?? ////

And, if you are a local initiative and see a local institution set up one of these crazy unsustainable conferences about sustainability – send them this video / idea collection – if you like using an anonymous email address.

/// ADD END ///

/// ADD SOMEWHERE: When a british researcher meets a new project partner from Japan at a conference in South Africa it is very likely that the project they set up will be in need of more plane tickets… . ///




FFFS Episode 5: The Power Challenge

Download Script: PDF | DOCX | Download all Scripts: ZIP

* Play this with some puppets and a lot of Ketchup maybe. Make it bloody :-) Splattery (?)

Script Sketch


my name is Lars Zimmermann:

And this is: FFFS – Fixing Funding for sustainability. Episode five.

And this episode is called “The Power Challenge“.

Well, what is it about?


* On my search for sustainable change a simple answer/model came up for the question: What forces are actually changing or shaping the world? Sustainability obviously isn’t.

* The model or answer begins with reading Shakespeare or history of royal families or even simpler: watching Game Of Thrones.

* There you can see, the people who are in power were willing to kill everyone in their way for that power – to make it to the top! Killing people! Close to the top you are surrounded by people who are willing to kill to make it to the very top. And this means – when you are at the top – you are surrounded by a lot of people that want to kill you! All the time. And will, if you don’t outsmart them all the time.

* Imagine that stress. Most people – including myself – are not willing to take that stress. I rather don’t be at the top then! Most are not cut out for this. But the point is. There are people who are!

* You can think of them as an unstoppable force! Pushing everything out of the way. And do everything that is necessary to get to power! Do and deal with everything necessary! The “will to power”. It is this unstoppable force that at the end of the day is shaping the world!

* You can find this in Shakespeare, the history books and <smile> Game of Thrones </simle>. These are the people in power. That shape the world. And it is their fights that shape the world.


Selling Things Works Better Than Killing People

* Well in today’s world and the world of let’s say at least the past 70 years killing people wasn’t always the best strategy for this unstoppable force to get to the top. There was and is another strategy: It is selling things!

* If you sell a lot a lot of products to people you will make them give THEIR money to YOU. You will make a lot of money. And in todays capitalism money means power!

* So in our current world – this unstoppable force – that is willing to do EVERYTHING necessary – is focussed on: getting resources out of the ground, transform them into products, deploy them everywhere; and make this whole thing as fast paced and as extractive as possible!


 Or more funny “puppet” references from the TV series “I Robot” (1) | (2)   ////

* That is why you have so much cheap stuff around you. Because in its core it helped the people who want to be powerful to become powerful. (And with many of these things they wanted that you wanted this.)

* So in terms of funding. When money is in the hands of the powerful and they are powerful because they want to become more powerful – they are more likely to invest this money into extracting even more resources to sell even more things and exploit the planet even more.

* So the force, that is shaping the world, the “number 1 force”, is on the opposite site of sustainability.

Fixing this? The Power Challenge!

* How to fix this?

* In this episode I don’t have an answer. I don’t have a fix ready.

* The only thing I got Is this question. A proposal for a direction in what look for an answer how to make sustainability happen.

* How can we channel that force – that wants to be at the top and is willing to do what is necessary for it – towards sustainability? What systems can we set up? What manipulations can we make to the existing system or systems?

* This is the power challenge! Create Channels where this will to power is focussed on sustainability because sustainability is a strategy to raise to the top.

* … a system where you get power because you repair and reuse and avoid…

* … this goes out to those, who have this unstoppable force in them …

* … I am looking for ideas. This is a call for ideas. …

/// Make the final bit a bit more round and celebrating, add something, dance around the key question by saying it 10 times each time differently … something is missing. ///

/// Add: Probably/maybe a place where ppl. can discuss this ideas or where they can send them in. ///

/// Not sure: When it makes sense to make a bloody mess in the end take a shot of all the ketchup blood and adjust to colour filters of the video so that red becomes green. ///




FFFS Episode 6: 1 Trillion

Download Script: PDF | DOCX | Download all Scripts: ZIP

Script Sketch


my name is Lars Zimmermann:

And this is: FFFS – Fixing Funding for sustainability. Episode six!

And this episode is called “1 Trillion!“

Well, what is it about?


The key idea of that episode is to explain, that it is very costly to make the economy of a country switch to a green one. And risky. The GDP might go down.

But let’s gamify it. We ask the richest people of this world – philanthropists like Bill Gates – and also countries to all put together money. We collect a sum of 1 Trillion Dollar! 1 Trillion! As prize money.

It will go to the country as first reaches certain sustainability standards. Very high standards. That will take a while to achieve.

1 000 000 000 000 ! 


(People like to talk about money especially about big sums! They understand this. Money can be the vehicle to make them talk more about sustainability. 1 Trillion is an insane number. Newsworthy. Let’s dream about getting it!)

(People like competition. What sustainability strategies will make countries be frontrunners in the race for the 1 Trillion?)

(1 Trillion might be enough to take a risky road where you might end up with a not profitable economy for some time but a sustainable one!)

//// FOR THIS EPISODE: Set up a website for this project: that looks like the official website of this project. It explains the goal of the project and has an info-page for funders that want to contribute to the pot. Make it good enough that it looks decent and like a real campaign/project on first look. And the publication of the video is the publication of that website! ///



License: CC-BY-ND

These scripts are licensed under CC-BY-ND! Because it reflects a point of view. However. Feel free to cut it together with other stuff. As long as you don’t make me say things I have not said I will not come after you!


External Pictures

Image credit: Wrench by Sophia Bai from the Noun Project, CC-BYBug by Juraj Sedlák from the Noun Project, CC-BY . | Boat Pic: by Aah-Yeah (Wulstbug)CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons