Who We Are

We believe that bottom-up collective action by an active, networked global citizenry can drive the change food and sustainability lie at the heart of the IFL healthy communities model.

IFL is an NPO dedicated to developing and piloting scalable holistic community models which seamlessly incorporate ecology, community, and local Circular WEconomy along with the values of openness, fairness, democracy and altruism. We champion the integration of agroforestry, indigenous and permaculture primary production systems with secondary Circular WEconomy, open source and peer production systems, that are governed and owned by local community production cooperatives. The IFL sustainable communities model embraces a nexus approach treating water, energy, food, waste and human wellbeing as necessary dimensions of a complex interacting system. We believe such a model is scalable, and can rapidly uplift the Base of Pyramid by democratizing the means of production without incurring a heavy ecological footprint or violating Doughnut Economics (Raworth, 2012).

Focus Areas

  • Education


    IFL believes we are at the precipice of major educational shifts that can radically transform education as we know it. Digital technology holds the promise of tailoring education to the individual. IFL supports an ANYtime Education (ANYE) model as well as a complementary APPlied Education (APPE) model, that treats life itself as the school. In this model, the student does not forfeit the title of learner after finishing studies at a formal educational institution, but rather is treated as a lifetime student. We champion the scaffolding model of Hierarchical Idea Networks (HIN), which holds the potential to significantly increase both the joy and efficiency of learning at all ages by developing an interactive knowledge commons.

  • Culture & Social

    Through Stop Reset Go, IFL promotes the development of Human Interior Transformation (HIT) as a part of a rapid whole system change strategy to a more livable planet. A critical part of this strategy is Deep Humanity, a process for rekindling the sense of wonder in human beings. Through a process of collective and personal BEing Journeys, individuals are lead to a deep awareness of their humanity, and learn to deepen their appreciation of their own psychological experience of life. The cultural practice of activities like song, dance and stories attain a new relevance. Deep Humanity helps to unleash a new appreciation of life and unleashes creativity and joyful participation in collective action. This is deemed necessary to develop an active participatory citizenry who actively participates in their own governance.

  • Ecology

    IFL promotes complete cycling of materials through Circular Economy,, respecting planetary boundaries, eco-tipping and general conservation of natural resources. But IFL goes beyond that, and supports the new concept of a Circular WEconomy. Organized, large-scale industrialized production cannot be separated from planetary and human wellbeing. The Industrial Revolution has played an important role in shaping the world we live in today by externalizing both ecological and social impacts. While the Circular Economy addresses ecological impacts, it still refrains from addressing the generational social impacts of centuries of physical and economic colonialism. The Circular WEconomy is defined to address both social and ecological impacts simultaneously, which have historically occurred together.

  • Economy

    We believe healthy economies start with thriving local economies, our activities are mainly driven by technologies that contribute to easing the burden of manual labour, affordability and sustainability and enabling small scale or decentralised peer production / manufacturing at the local level. Under this programme we:

    • Develop local economic development models
    • Identify and develop technologies that contribute to the sustainable use of the nexus of water, soil, energy generation and the production of food.
      Focus on MOOCC (Massive Open Online Commons Collaboration) as an efficient means of innovation
    • Focus on Cosmo-localization (Design Global, Manufacture Local) as a new efficient means of networked production for the commons via creation of a global open source design commons
    • Develop community-level manufacturing cooperative model for fair wealth distribution within communities

Our Team

James Gien Wong
Based in Cape Town, James Gien Wong is a principal co-founder of both Institute of Future Living and Stop Reset Go, a special project of IFL focused on develop citizen-centric, rapid whole system change and collective action solutions for the globe. Stop Reset Go is a simple 3-step change strategy: STOP - once a harmful situation is identified, RESET - our knowledge and behavior to find healthy alternatives, GO - implement and scale proven solutions. Stop Reset Go is based upon a complementary change strategy of 1) Human Interior Transformation (HIT) and 2) Social Exterior Transformation (SET). Gien is a system designer and product developer and researcher who has worked in advanced research for decades in electronic system design, SCADA and wireless communications and LED luminaire design. Gien currently resides on the Board of the Open Source Circular Economy Days movement and Envienta Open Source Everything.
Lerato Thahane
Based in Pretoria, South Africa, Lerato is a founder member of IFL. She is an ecologist by training with over 30 years experience in training, research and management. She lectured ecology, plant physiology, microbiology and Soil Conservation for 16 years at the Univercity of North West. She has conducted research in Agriculture and environmental degradation. She has managed a national Program of Technology for Development in the Department of Science and Technology, South Africa and the Provincial Agriculture in the North West Province. She firmly believes that the responsible use of technology can reduce poverty and protect the environment. She has designed many Agriculture and clean and green development projects. She was involved in the establishment of a Clean Development Mechanism desk in the City of Tswane. She has evaluated over 50 technology based and agricultural projects.
Steven Johnstone
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Steven Johnstone is a co-founder of Institute of Future Living. He holds a B.Sc environmental science honours Degree from Rhodes University and an MBA degree from University of Pretoria (GIBS). Steven first worked as a sustainability consultant focusing water related issues such as footprint calculations and solutions water related problems. However after completing his MBA degree Steven had a career change to work in a startup providing market research and analytics for the fast moving consumer goods industry in South Africa and Africa utilising big data sets. Although he has undergone a career change, his passion still lies in sustainability and the environment and spends his free time focusing on solutions which can promote a sustainable future for all.