The Fish Game In Play - In Germany | A Case Story

The Fish Game In Play - In Germany | A Case Story

The workshop was part of our "Land Use and Resources" day (other parts of the program that day included workshops, discussions and presentations on food, farming methods, waste management, and circular economy). We started the workshop by playing the Fish Game simulation in eight groups with 5-9 members, each recording their results in a table. We followed up on this in reflective group discussions, talking about why groups failed, what the different scenarios represent, and how this relates to real life/ in what ways this is not a 100% accurate representation of international (over)fishing. Afterwards, we provided some more theoretical context on overfishing by going through our own presentation on causes of overfishing, consequences for the ecosystem and the human population, and proposed solutions and strategies to prevent overfishing / fix the damage already done. Additionally, we went over some specific cases of overfishing e.g. in Canada and on the West African coast.

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Introducing Schools to the Future | The Journal of Wild Culture

Repost from:
Original Post Date: September 28, 2013, by Whitney Smith

Education as we have come to experience it is a system structured around 19th century models and needs is heavily influenced by the industrial revolution. Many have argued that this system is no longer relevant to the demands and aspirations of modern-day society; others have made claims that it is even detrimental. A few organisations have set out to redefine the weary standardised view within the education system today. • One of those organisations, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, works closely with individuals within school systems in the US and around the world. Jamie Cloud, lifelong global educator and founder of The Cloud Institute, wants schools to become ‘learning organisations’ which place children in the centre of a curriculum that encourages, inspires and empowers them to think about the wider systems of ecology, economy and ethics. • In these video talks Jamie outlines the origins and importance of the Institute’s work, and how it is now time to relent our old fashion notions of education: to allow the fertile, vibrant, and bright minds of tomorrow to experience a school system that will help to nurture and cultivate their potential. • If you have a story like this one please let us know. The domino effect of a few of these can make the difference that Jaimie Cloud is talking about. — Matthew Small, Education Editor.

Here Jaimie discusses using the Fish Game and understanding Mental Models as a way to start the conversation about education for sustainability.

Watch the entire video series here:

IMPACT2030: Transformational Leadership + The Fish Game

The back story to the following  wonderful article is worth sharing.  I received a call one day out of the blue from a  Dr. Emma from Kenya.  Dr. Emma told me that she was involved in developing an upcoming Forum for Kenyan leaders and that she had asked Peter Senge to be the keynote speaker at the forum. She went on to say that he had agreed to do it on one condition:  “That the leaders play the Cloud Institute’s Fish Game first.”  He went on to say that she could reach out to me for details, so she did.  She downloaded the Fish Game from our bookstore and we set a time for a SKYPE coaching session to prepare her to facilitate it at the Forum.  The SKYPE time came and went—no Dr. Emma.  The next day, I received an email from her explaining that the Internet had gone down in the village and that she was hoping to re-schedule our conversation.  No problem.  We re-scheduled for the next day, and two hours before our scheduled conversation, Dr. Emma called me on the phone:  “Jaimie?” she said, “I came to Nairobi to a hotel so that I could SKYPE with you today, and the electricity has just gone out.  I am sitting in my hotel room with a cell phone, a candle and a print out of the Fish Game Facilitator’s guide.  Can we talk now?”  Of course we did—then and a few more times after that. As we unpacked the mental models of unsustainability and those that are more likely to help us to shape the future we want, Dr. Emma kept saying over and over, “Jaimie: Have you been to Kenya? Do you know these folks?  Are you sure you don’t know them?”  I explained that though I have in fact been to Kenya once, I did not know those individuals personally and that the mental models of un-sustainability seem to be universal and even archetypal. Tragic and true. In exchange for my time, I asked Dr. Emma to write about her experience facilitating the Fish Game to tribal leaders in Kenya. This is what she wrote:

Leadership and Kenyan Renaissance, 2012



Within the last decade, an unprecedented wave of development has swept through Africa. New faces appear across the landscape such as the Chinese, now common on some African City streets.  Highways are being built to connect African countries together.  One country leading in this forward development is Kenya. And, while commending this development, one Kenyan scholar believes that for this to work and still have an impact, Kenyan leadership will have to shift in a new direction. More so, because a wave of resource exploration is revealing that Kenya has lots of natural resources including oil, coal, geothermal, natural gas and wind power.  For these resources to benefit the public, a new type of leadership will be critical.


 “Kenya is undergoing the most aggressive devolution that the world has ever witnessed” (World Bank Report, Dec. 2011). The goal is to curb negative systemic social, economic, political and development issues. A recently amended Constitution (CK2010) seeks to reshape the way citizens relate with the government, and places a strong emphasis on principles of participation, transparency, and accountability. The new constitution avails ordinary Kenyans an opportunity to take the lead in the development of their counties, innovatively modeling a development that works for them.  Leadership styles and models for the 21st Century will be critical and must be learned.  This period of change comes at a time when Kenya is witnessing new recourse identification to include:  oil, natural gas, wind power, geothermal power, coal, and biofuels on a limited scale.  The Cloud Institute’s Fish Game simulation was played to create awareness about resources and leadership, deemed critical in the development of Kenya.


Dr. Theuri adds that Kenyan success will depend on how well leaders harness the county synergy to reap the benefits that are independently un-obtainable, and, which will be greater than the sum of all 47 Kenyan counties. Recognizing the need to identify available resources, and utilizing them without depleting will be key to local and national development.  To achieve this, a “Shared servant leadership is critical, and it must be the new song”, says Dr. Theuri.


The Issue

But how does this rebirth take place, “Dr. Theuri asks”, when Kenyans and the international community are grappling with uncertainty and a lack of trust with the Kenyan leadership?  A time when Kenyans are wondering whether the great hopes they have on the new constitution will come to fruition, given that it will be implemented by the same leadership that brought Kenya down. A leadership that is likely to protect its own interests, and has the power to do just that. What will support the hopes among Kenyans, that the strong roots of corruption, eroded ethos, joblessness, and hopelessness will no longer prevail, in a country where over 65% of the population is youth aged under 35years?


The Fish Game was used against this background, to communicate the role of servant leadership in resource mobilization and sustainability; to demonstrate the power of unselfish leadership in economic development, and the power of collaboration and re-union between the government and the people of Kenya in resource mobilization, utilization and sustainability.


The Forum

Dr. Theuri conducted the four-day IMPACT2030: Transformational Leadership Forum in Kenya 2012, with participants hailing from government and private corporations.


Participants were from government and corporate managers, CEOs and an ex-ambassador.  Their role at the forum was to endure 12 hours a day, exploring the uniqueness of their counties and their country.  Also, engaging in thought-provoking hands-on experiences, addressing global roots of poverty and how this is sustained.  


Further, looking at servant-like, and the 21st Century leadership; mental models and change.  An introduction to systems thinking and its application in a Kenyan context was an eye opener into leadership greed, corruption, root causes and impact on resources. Local invited speakers spiced the Forum.  Forum participants became residents of the 48th Kenyan County by default, a simulated County that exposed them to the reality of living on 2$ a day, and as government planners, coming up with a plan how the 48th County in Kenya should develop and grow.


The Game

Groups of four teams (1, 2, 3, and 4) played the game.  Teams 1, 3, and 4 depleted the fish in their first round.  But, when playing Game # 3, they were able to play several rounds without depleting the fish pond.   Team #2 did not deplete the fish even in the first round.  Apparently, they had an individual who insisted that they could not take as much as they all wanted.  She was the only female in the whole training crew.  She stood her ground and sort of dictated that the group ration fishing from the word go, because without the rations, some people would get no fish.  The group negotiated, disagreed, and finally settled to one fish per person.  For this team, they were able to keep going for 5 rounds before the instructor stopped them, they could have gone on and on for a long time.


Lessons Learned

During the debriefing, the teams used Kenya as the Fish Pond to analyze the case of Kenyan resources and poverty.  They were in agreement that in Kenya, people believe that:

  • Natural resources belong to the government so, no one takes care of them, and as a result, they are easily depleted by the citizens.

  • That the leaders have misused natural resources because they are the government property, and so, they own the (resources).

After the game, participants had two critical observations:

  • That if people were educated about the impact of resources on their lives, and the ownership they democratically possess, then, the citizens would protect those resources for their children, and future generations.

  • That development of Kenya lies on the hands of the Kenyan people.

The Fish Game served as a self-reflective process on the participant’s leadership, their management styles, and use of public resources.  After the program, participants had the following to say: verbatim):


“I learned that to be a leader, one must first become a human being.

 Learned that leadership is about taking a stand no matter how unpopular you become.

 If resources are used wisely, our nation will prosper.

 I learned how to optimize the gift of leadership. 

The vision that is important is that which people share.

A great leader provides an opportunity for people to shape their future.

That there is a lot of potential in our counties and Country.

Strategies to transform a county, and even communities.

Major learning was that our country is endowed with a lot of wealth and potential.

The resources and potential in Kenya are enormous. 

If resources are used well, then the country will prosper. 

There is need to have a clear understanding of our National Goals and work together to achieve them.  

General overview of leadership at community level. 

Problems in agriculture sector in Kenya and how it can be advised through empowerment of community.

Communication between leadership and the grassroots.   

How to contribute to community development”.



In summary, the learning from the Fish Game was powerful.  It was amazing that a simple game of Fish could provide such deep penetration, quest, and awakening for knowledge and skills building in areas that matter the most in life.  It was clear that simplified communication of knowledge has the ability to provide a deeper meaning of the subject.  Participants did grasp the power of servant and team oriented leadership. They gained a better understanding about resource utilization.  They realized that Kenya has lots of resources which, if properly utilized are enough for all, and for future generation. There was a deep self-reflection, and change of mind sets, on leadership and resource utilization.  Participants left the forum fired up to go make change in their leadership positions. 


The Leadership Forum would not have been such a success without the great contribution of renowned trainers and speakers such as Dr. Peter Senge, who joined the Forum participants in Kenya via video conference from USA.  Dr. Peter Methabula from South Africa; Dr. Jonathan Ciano, the CEO Uchumi Kenya; Peter Kenneth, the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of National Planning and Development; and Dr. Emma Theuri, the convener. 


Special thanks go to Jaimie P. Cloud, President of The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education.  Jaimie is commended for her flexibility and zeal in getting the work done.  Being in the US at the time, she spent over three hours on a Phone Training about the Fish Game with Dr. Theuri who was in Kenya at the time.  (The only communication channel they had, after several power outage experiences in their earlier attempts to accomplish the task via Skype).  Without this effort, the Fish Game exercise would not have taken place. 

Dr. Emma Theuri is the Founder, Institute for Promotion of Sustainable Community Development (IPSCoD), an organization with a focus on transformational leadership as a tool for change and empowerment.



  • The Fish Game.  Facilitator’s Guide.  Developed and published by The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, 2012 Edition.

  • Laurie P. & Diebel. A.  Bridging the Divide between the Public and Government.  A Review of Research KF.  Connections, Kettering Foundation’s Washington, D.C. Summer, 2006.

  • Kenya Constitution 2010.

  • Kenya, Vision2030.

NJ Learns | Smart Growth and Livable Communities

Repost from:

Original Post Date: March 3, 2010

By Angela Clerico

In a profession where the goal is to plan better communities it seemed to me that we were going about things the same way we had been for decades. Sure, over time the focus shifted away from sprawling communities and toward “smart growth” – building homes near major transportation corridors, protecting the environs. But, there had to be something more… a better way, still, to create more livable communities and communities that thrive, not just survive.

When I was introduced to the NJ Learns program, I was interested because I had an interest in the topic of sustainability. It has been called the largest social movement this planet has ever seen – only you don’t actually “see” it happening. Millions of people all over the world in town halls, school libraries, and community centers are getting together to implement their visions for change. They’re organizing events to inform their local officials and the community-at-large. It’s a movement alright, and I wanted to learn how to better communicate the concept. I learned more than that!

Participating in the NJ Learns program, I had many “aha” moments. From learning how to teach the concepts about and the data for sustainability to a better understanding of how people perceive sustainability and their concerns for changing behavior, I could see how the shift would not only have to come from the community, but that the local leaders would have to set the example. The lone planner in a room full of educators, I began to see how educating my audience would be a little different since I am not a teacher, per se, but that it could be just as powerful. Now, every time I walk into a planning board meeting the topic of sustainability is on my mind and is communicated through my work.

The hard part is that it is a process and results may not be seen overnight. In the NJ Learns program, we participated in a simulation where, in groups, we were fishermen. We had to fish the ocean in a manner that, with an average replenishment rate, the ocean would remain sustainable. The ocean would continue to produce fish for us to catch to maintain our livelihoods. The problem, however, was the same all around: everyone “crashed the system” by overfishing. It took many of the groups several tries, if not more, to figure out that we just had to make it through the down times in order to remain sustainable. Instead, different mentalities took over. “Everyone else was taking more than their share, so I should too!” “I could see this was not going to work, so I jumped on the bandwagon.”

These mentalities translate right into our communities and it is hard for residents and local leaders to see the benefits, when it is such incremental change.

There are a few popular phrases in local government that tend to set the tone for creating sustainability strategies. One is “How can we get the biggest bang for our buck?” Local leaders want to do right by their taxpayers, providing quality of life, but they don’t want to enforce practices that may cost money. The other is “Let’s look at the low-hanging fruit.” This is a good strategy for getting something off the ground. It is a quick way to get a project done and shows that the local leadership is doing something for the community. It also provides momentum for a larger-scale project that may take more time. However, it often doesn’t take into account the bigger picture.

The topic of sustainability is a tough web to untangle and make sense of. Land use planners are typically the ones to break down these issues and present them in a meaningful way so that local leaders can make decisions. Planners guide the development of ordinances, policies, and regulations, at the same time, supporting community-wide campaigns for residents to become more aware of how they can green their lifestyles. If all planners were speaking a shared language of planning for sustainability, we could create a paradigm shift toward sustainability and livable communities from the top-down and the bottom-up.

My NJ Learns training and practice of the program continues every day I am working to create more livable communities in NJ.

 >  >  >  > Learn more about the New Jersey LearnsProgram<  <  <  <

Fishing for Cognizance - EfS... An Intern’s Perspective

h4 style="text-align: justify;">Learning About EfS From An Intern’s Perspective

“Well, I knew nothing about sustainability at all!” Nozomi Sakata explains when asked how she Photo courtesy of to apply for an internship at The Cloud Institute a few weeks ago. It turns out that she is simply graceful at stumbling. Happening on the Cloud Institute through an email from her school’s internship program, Nozomi was mainly interested in the fact that it produced innovative curriculum platforms; the Institute’s focus in Education for Sustainability presented, more than anything else, a foreign concept to explore. In that same happenstance way, she recently happened to see that Jaimie Cloud was presenting a two-day workshop called “The Essentials of Sustainability Education Workshop” at Columbia University Teacher’s College, where Nozomi is a student. The opportunity was, she explains, “a chance to learn about the ideology of EfS from an introductory perspective

Nozomi isn’t an anomaly. All the interns here at the Cloud Institute have different motivations and reasons as to why they were drawn to this office, providing an interesting window into the many facets of EfS.

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